Moscow Says Cross-Border Assault on Russia’s Belgorod Area ‘Blocked, Destroyed’

An assault on Russia’s western Belgorod area, initially launched on Could 22 from neighboring Ukraine, has been decisively routed, in response to the Russian Protection Ministry.

“Because of air strikes, artillery hearth, and motion by items of the Western Navy District … the nationalist formations have been blocked and destroyed,” the ministry said in its day by day briefing for Could 23.

“Remaining nationalists have been pushed again into Ukraine, the place they continued to be hit till they’ve been utterly eradicated.”

It additionally claimed that 70 “Ukrainian nationalists” had been killed in the course of the course of the operation.

The Epoch Occasions was unable to confirm the ministry’s claims.

Belgorod damaged apartments
Injury to an condominium constructing after an explosion in Belgorod, Russia, on April 21, 2023. (Telegram Channel of Belgorod Area Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov through AP)

Russian authorities say the Ukrainian navy carried out the cross-border assault together with “Ukrainian saboteurs.” Kyiv countered that the assault was staged by “Russian nationalists” against the federal government of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

One among Russia’s westernmost areas, Belgorod shares a roughly 540-mile-long border with Ukraine.

In April 2022, Moscow accused Ukraine of staging a cross-border helicopter assault in Belgorod that destroyed a big gasoline depot—an allegation denied by Kyiv.

Governor: Operations Concluded

The raid started noon on Could 22 with drone and artillery assaults on a number of districts of Belgorod, in response to regional Gov. Vyacheslav Gladkov.

Russian forces responded by launching a large-scale counter-terrorism operation, which the governor stated was concluded on the night of Could 23.

Talking on Telegram, Gladkov claimed that 12 native residents had been injured within the assault, which additionally prompted widespread injury to civilian infrastructure.

Residents from 9 of the area’s affected districts have since been evacuated to adjoining areas, he stated.

Ukrainian Service Members
Ukrainian service members journey a tank, as Russia’s assault on Ukraine continues, close to the entrance line metropolis of Bakhmut, Ukraine, on April 10, 2023. (Oleksandr Klymenko/Reuters)

Based on a Kremlin spokesman, the assault was geared toward “diverting consideration” from Ukraine’s current lack of Bakhmut, a key transport hub within the japanese Donetsk area.

On Could 21, the Russian Protection Ministry claimed that its forces managed all of Bakhmut (Artyomovsk in Russian) following 9 months of intense floor preventing.

Kyiv insists that its forces nonetheless keep a tenuous foothold within the beleaguered metropolis.

‘Nationalists’ Declare Accountability

Kyiv has additionally denied involvement within the current cross-border assault on Belgorod.

Based on Ukrainian officers, the assault was carried out by two armed Russian “nationalist” teams: the so-called Liberty of Russia Legion and the Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC).

Hromadske, a Kyiv-based media outlet, cited a Ukrainian navy intelligence spokesman as saying the 2 teams have been behind the current cross-border assault.

“Accountability for these occasions was taken by residents of [Russia],” Andriy Yusov was quoted as saying.

“We will solely welcome the decisive actions of opposition-minded Russian residents, who’re prepared for an armed wrestle towards the prison regime of Vladimir Putin.”

Each teams claimed accountability for the assaults on their respective Telegram accounts.

Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a gathering of the Presidential Council for the Native Self-Authorities Growth through a video hyperlink on the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outdoors Moscow on April 20, 2023. (Sputnik/Gavriil Grigorov/Kremlin through Reuters)

“It appears like RVC fighters are visiting their homeland once more!” the RVC said on its Telegram channel on Could 22, shortly after the assault started.

“RVC fighters are again in Russia! Information from Belgorod … shouldn’t be lengthy in coming!”

Established in August 2022, the RVC is reportedly composed of ethnic Russians preventing alongside Ukraine towards Putin’s Russia.

The group first gained notoriety in March, when it claimed accountability for the same cross-border raid into Russia’s western Bryansk area.

Like Belgorod, Bryansk shares a prolonged border with Ukraine.

Based on Russian media studies, one individual was killed within the Bryansk raid, which was swiftly turned again by Russian safety forces.

Primarily based in Ukraine, the RVC claims to be a “Russian nationalist” paramilitary group.

Based by Moscow-born Denis Kapustin (aka Denis Nikitin), the group has been described within the Western media as “far-right” and “neo-Nazi.”

The RVC purportedly seeks the fragmentation of the Russian Federation into small ethnic states, together with a Russian state dominated by ethnic Slavs.

Fragmenting Russia

On Could 19, Putin claimed that Russia’s enemies sought to “stage provocations inside ethnic communities and set up socio-political associations, allegedly on behalf of Russian peoples.”

Addressing Russia’s Council for Interethnic Relations, he stated, “They are saying Russia should be divided into dozens of small states … in order to bend these states to their will, exploit them, and use them for their very own mercenary functions.”

When requested by reporters in regards to the Belgorod raid, U.S. State Division spokesman Matthew Miller stated Washington had “made very clear” to Kyiv “that we don’t allow or encourage assaults outdoors Ukraine’s borders.”

“However I do assume it’s vital to take a step again and remind everybody … that it’s Russia that launched this struggle,” Miller stated at a Could 22 press briefing.

“So it’s as much as Ukraine to resolve how they need to conduct their navy operations.”

Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, which Kyiv and its Western allies have decried as an unprovoked struggle of aggression.

Moscow, for its half, claims that its “particular navy operation” seeks to guard Russian audio system in japanese Ukraine and halt the eastward growth of NATO.

Reuters contributed to this report.