Ukraine-Backed Russian Militants Say They’ve Taken Russian Village

  • Ukraine-backed Russian militants claim they’ve taken over territory in the Belgorod region.
  • The Kremlin was informed of the cross-border raid and said it was “sabotage” from Kyiv.
  • One legion of Russian freedom fighters announced the “liberation” of the area from Putin’s regime.

Ukrainian-backed Russian militants claim they’ve taken control of Russian territory in a cross-border raid, announcing the “liberation” of the villages from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime. 

On Monday, the Liberty of Russia Legion militants said they were moving into the Belgorod region, a southern Russian area that borders Ukraine and is just miles north of Kharkiv. 

The legion tweeted that their forces had “completely liberated” the Belgorod Oblast area and were now moving into Graivoron, a city located southwest of Belgorod and along the border of northeastern Ukraine. 

“Russia will be free!” the militants added. 

Putin, the Kremlin, and the Ministry of Defense were all informed of the incursion, calling it “sabotage,” according to a statement shared with state-backed media network RIA Novosti

“We perfectly understand the purpose of such sabotage — to distract attention from the Bakhmut direction, to minimize the political effect of the loss of Artemovsk by the Ukrainian side,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

RIA Novosti also reported that the city of Graivoron was subjected to mortar fire from Ukraine. Two people were injured in the incident, RIA Novosti reported.

Insider was unable to independently verify these reports. 

According to a former advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Kyiv’s intelligence department said the Liberty of Russia Legion’s operation was “carried out exclusively by citizens of Russia” and had goals of creating a “security lane” along the border of Ukraine. 

Earlier Monday morning, the Liberty of Russia Legion posted a video on Twitter of five of their fighters.

According to Reuters’ translation, one of the troops said: “We are Russians, like you. We are people like you. We want our children to grow up in peace. It is time to put an end to the dictatorship of the Kremlin.”

Another video on Twitter apparently shows the troops discussing their invasion of Belgorod and making reference to a Russian cult song called “Everything is going according to plan.”

The events come as a stark turnabout from previous attacks by Russian militants in Ukraine, who have often claimed territory for Russia and occupied towns such as Kherson and Mariupol since the war began over a year ago. 

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