Confusing situation at the border. The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, announced that a “sabotage and reconnaissance group of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (was) entered the territory of the Gaïvoron district”, a neighbor of Ukraine. Russian forces “take the necessary measures to eliminate the enemy”he added, Monday, May 22, without providing additional details on the number and profile of these fighters who entered Russia.
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A little earlier, a group called the “Freedom Legion of Russia” had announced the complete liberation of the village of Kozinka, located on the border, and added that “advanced detachments” had entered the village of Graivoron, two kilometers further on. In the morning, this Russian opposition group, created in the spring of 2022, had already launched a call to announce its “back home”in order to “put an end to the Kremlin dictatorship” . A man spoke in front of the camera, a gun in his hand, asking the inhabitants of the border regions to stay at home, not to resist and not to be afraid.
On his websitethis group presents itself as a unit of Russians officially recognized by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. It uses the blue and white flag of the opposition, instead of the official Russian tricolor flag.
The “Russian Freedom Legion” claimed responsibility for its incursion alongside the “Russian Volunteer Corps” (RDK). The latter, in the morning, had broadcast images of three supposed infiltration missions, including one in a village in the region. Footage of armored vehicles, allegedly shot at the Russian border, has also appeared on social media, but it is impossible to establish their authenticity at this stage.
The “Russian Freedom” Legion and the “Russian Volunteer Corps” are carrying out an operation on the territory of the Russian region of Belgorod in order to create a “safety line” and to protect Ukrainian civilians, Andriy Yusov, spokesman for Ukrainian military intelligence, said in a commentary. to Suspilne media (in Ukrainian). No Ukrainian fighters are taking part in the mission, he said. “Ukraine is following the events in the Belgorod region of Russia with interest and studying the situation, but it has nothing to do with it”assured on Twitter Mykhaïlo Podoliak, adviser to the Ukrainian presidency.
On the Russian side, the development of the situation is being followed very closely. Vladimir Putin was notably informed of the incursion of a “sabotage group” in the Belgorod region, commented Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for the Kremlin. Before minimizing this incursion, the purpose of which, according to him, “is to divert attention from Artemovsk (Russian name of Bakhmout)“ And “to minimize its loss by the Ukrainian side”.