Russia’s Defense Ministry on Tuesday said that it defeated a Ukrainian sabotage group that launched a cross-border raid in Russia’s Belgorod Oblast on Monday.
According to Russia’s TASS news agency, the Russian military “blocked and wiped out Ukrainian nationalist formations in the Belgorod Region during a counterterror operation” and killed over “70 Ukrainian terrorists.”
According to Belgorod’s governor, at least 12 people were wounded in the cross-border attack. Russian officials say the sabotage group launched mortar and artillery fire on residential areas and announced a “terrorism probe” into the operation.
While Ukraine’s military intelligence strongly hinted it was behind the attack, Kyiv has not officially taken credit. They say the attack was launched by Russian citizens who volunteered to fight for Kyiv, groups known as the Freedom of Russia Legion and the Russian Volunteer Corps (RSV).
Both groups are part of Ukraine’s armed forces, but Kyiv claimed they were operating independently in their attack on Russia. The RSV has members who are veterans of Ukraine’s Azov Battalion and are open neo-Nazis. The group’s founder, Denis Nikitin, is a notorious extremist with ties to neo-Nazi groups across the Western world.
According to The Times of London, Discord leaks show that Ukraine had been planning attacks on Russian territory using Russian volunteer groups for some time. One document said the Russian citizens fighting for Ukraine are armed with “various qualitative types of NATO weapons.”