Russia persists in counterterrorism operations following the incursion in Belgorod.
Russia continued “counter-terrorism operations” in a border region on Tuesday, a day after what appeared to be one of the largest cross-border incursions from Ukraine since the war began 15 months ago.
Russian authorities announced Monday that they are fighting an incursion of Ukrainian saboteurs who have crossed the border into the Belgorod region. A Ukrainian presidential adviser said on Twitter that the Kiev government was monitoring the situation but had “nothing to do with it”.
Ukrainian newspaper Hromadsky quoted Ukrainian military intelligence as saying that two Russian armed opposition groups, the Legion of Liberty of Russia and the Russian Legion of Volunteers, both composed of Russian citizens, were responsible for the attack.
Russia’s regional governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said via messaging service Telegram that an “anti-terrorist operation” was still underway.
“The cleaning of the territory by the Ministry of Defense in cooperation with law enforcement agencies continues,” Gladkov said.
Gladkov said on Monday that at least eight people were injured, several buildings were damaged and many residents had left. He said he restricted movements and communications.
Gladkov said two buildings were attacked by drones during the night and people could not go home.
“I now appeal to the people of the Grayvoron district, who…have left their homes temporarily, it is not possible to return yet,” he said.
Gladkov said a woman died during the evacuation on Monday and two people were reported injured. He said the “first” task on Tuesday was to get to them.
The Russian Volunteer Corps released video footage late Monday showing what it said was a fighter inspecting a captured armored vehicle. Another video showed what she said were fighters driving an armored vehicle on a country road.
Other videos posted on Russian and Ukrainian social media channels showed photos and videos of what they described as captured Russian soldiers and their identification documents.
Reuters could not independently verify the situation.
The RIA Novosti news agency quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin had been informed and work was underway to expel the “saboteurs”.
The Baza channel on Telegram, which has links to the Russian security services, said there were indications of fighting in three settlements along the main road to Russia. Telegram channel Open Belgorod said electricity and water were cut off in several villages.
The Liberty Corps of Russia said on Twitter it had “completely liberated” the border town of Kozynka. It added that forward units had reached the center of the easternmost district of Grayvoron.
“Go ahead. Russia will be free!” books.
Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February last year.
The Kremlin said the incursion by the “Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance group” was intended to distract attention from the eastern city of Bakhmut, which Russian forces say they have fully captured after more than nine months of fighting.
Russia says the capture of Bakhmut opens the way for further advances in the eastern industrial region known as Donbass. Ukraine says its advance on the flanks of Russian forces is more important than its withdrawal from Bakhmut itself, and that Russia will have to weaken its lines elsewhere to send reinforcements to take the shattered city.
Ukraine’s military said early Tuesday that more than 30 clashes took place in key sectors of the front line, with the center of fighting remaining in Bakhmut and Marinka in the far south.
“The battles for the city of Bakhmut continue,” it said. Reuters could not independently verify the authenticity of the reports.
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