The Russian authorities announced that they had defeated the fighters of the alleged sabotage group, who were supposed to have come to the Belgorod region from Ukraine. In the process, they allegedly killed more than 70 fighters who were labeled as Ukrainian terrorists.
According to the governor of the region, a Russian civilian was killed in the clashes and another person died during the evacuation.
“To our great regret, we have victims. A peaceful civilian, a resident of the Kozinka settlement, died in the hands of Ukrainian forces. Our sincere condolences to all relatives and loved ones,” the governor of the Belgorod region wrote on Telegram Vyacheslav Gladkovwhich also previously reported on the death of a woman who died during the evacuation.
Clashes in the region erupted on Monday when a group of saboteurs entered Belgorod from Ukraine. Russian forces are said to have already repelled the group’s attacks and pushed it back into Ukraine.
Even today, the Ukrainian authorities denied involvement in the clashes and emphasized that the groups Legion of Freedom of Russia and the Russian Volunteer Corps were probably behind them. “These are Russian patriots who want to change the political regime in the country,” explained the Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine Hana Painter.
The Freedom Legion of Russia, an anti-Kremlin militia based in Ukraine, meanwhile, announced on Monday that it had “completely liberated” the border town of Kozinka. This morning, however, she wrote on Telegram that she is continuing the “liberation” of the Belgorod region. Both paramilitary groups, however, told Ukrainian television Suspilne that they wanted to create “demilitarized zone on the border with the Russian Federation, from which it will not be possible to shell Ukraine”reports the British BBC.
The drones that hit the houses and the government building at night did not cause any injuries or deaths, Gladkov wrote on Telegram, according to the French news agency AFP.
He told the evacuated residents that it was still too early to return home, reports the German news agency DPA.
Kremlin: A special military operation continues to prevent this from happening again
The Kremlin announced that Russia should focus its military efforts on preventing new incursions into its territory. “What happened on Monday is a cause for deep concern and reaffirms that Ukrainian fighters continue their activities against our country.” the Kremlin spokesman announced Dmitry Peskov. “This requires more efforts from us and these efforts continue – a special military operation continues to prevent this from happening again,” he added. Despite the incident with the sabotage group in the Belgorod region, according to Peskov, Russian President Vladimir Putin will not convene a special meeting of the Russian National Security Council.
Gladkov announced on Monday that a group of saboteurs from Ukraine entered the Belgorod region and that eight people were wounded in the clashes. A legal counter-terrorism regime was then introduced in the region, giving security forces extensive powers such as identity checks, surveillance of communications and possible evacuation of residents from affected areas. This t- i. the anti-terror regime, which was introduced on Monday, was lifted by the authorities today.
Russia also announced today that the Belgorod region was under constant artillery and mortar fire following the outbreak of clashes between Russian forces and saboteurs. Prior to this, according to AFP, the governor of the region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, published on Monday a list of settlements that were the target of shelling. “Ukrainian armed forces carried out attacks on the territory of Belgorod,” he wrote. According to Gladkov, civilians were evacuated or “relocated” from nine Russian border settlements during the clashes. According to him, the region was also the target of an attack by drones at night, but there were no dead or injured.
The Freedom Legion of Russia, which describes itself as an anti-Kremlin militia, claimed responsibility for the attack. In a video posted by the group on Telegram, a masked representative explained that they had attacked two settlements. At the same time, he said: “Russia will be free!” This is a slogan often heard among Russian opposition activists.
Al Jazeera cites a Ukrainian intelligence officer Andrij Černjak, who said the attacks in Belgorod were carried out by the armed groups Legion of Freedom of Russia and the Russian Volunteer Corps. The aforementioned corps announced on Telegram that it had already crossed the border into Russia at the beginning of March. The organization calls itself a unit “volunteers fighting on the side of Ukraine”.
Little is known about this group and it is unclear if it has any connection to the Ukrainian military. The same applies to the Legion of Freedom of Russia, reports Al Jazeera.
Investigation for a “terrorist act”
In connection with the armed attack in Belgorod, the Russian authorities announced today that they had launched an investigation due to of a “terrorist act”. “Measures are being taken to establish the identity of the attackers and all the circumstances of the incident,” the competent investigative committee, which investigates major cases in Russia, wrote in a statement.
As stated by the investigators, they have launched an investigation into a number of crimes, including “terrorist attack”attempted murder, destruction or damage to property, and illegal trafficking in weapons and explosives.
Since the beginning of the war, the Belgorod region on the border with Ukraine has been the target of shelling several times, in which several people were killed and wounded.
Kyiv: We control the edge of Bahmut
Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine Hana Painter said that Ukrainian forces still controlled the southwestern edge of Bahmut and that fighting in the city had subsided.
She said on Telegram that Ukrainian forces have made some progress on the northern and southern outskirts of the city, and Russian troops are consolidating control over the area they control.
Head of the Russian mercenary group Wagner Yevgeny Prigozhin at the end of last week, together with the Russian authorities, announced the capture of the completely destroyed Bahmut from the fighting. At that time, he announced that he would hand over the Wagner positions in Bahmut to the Russian army by June 1.
Russia has already confirmed that it has fully captured Bahmut. Before the war, the city in eastern Ukraine had a population of 70,000, but now it is completely destroyed.
Zelenski visited the frontline units
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky visited Ukrainian troops at the front in the eastern Donetsk region, where Russian forces have focused their efforts to seize territory.
Zelensky “visited the front positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces on the Vugledar-Marjinka defense line in the Donetsk region”, the Ukrainian presidency announced, publishing photos of Zelenskiy with soldiers. As they also stated, the president also awarded them decorations.
“Every day on the battlefield, Ukrainian marines prove that they are a powerful force that destroys the enemy, liberates Ukrainian land and performs the most difficult tasks in the most difficult conditions,” said Zelensky. At the same time, he announced that new brigades will be formed, which will be equipped with modern equipment and weapons, according to the statement of the presidency, which is summarized by the French news agency AFP.
Fighting with the Russian army has been going on for months in the area of Vugledar and Marjinka. During the Russian winter offensive, Ukrainian units held back the Russian forces around Vugledar, which made it impossible for the Russian side to make a major advance in Donetsk.