Fighters from one of the groups claiming responsibility for the earlier attack in Russia's Belgorod region, before a press conference. 24 May 2023.
Kyiv – The commander of one of the groups that claims to have carried out an earlier attack in Russia's Belgorod region has announced further incursions into Russian territory. This was reported by the Reuters agency today, according to which Denis Nikitin, also known as Denis Kapustin, spoke to journalists on the Ukrainian side of the border with Russia. According to the BBC's Russian-language website, fighters who describe themselves as members of the group that infiltrated Russian territory on Monday held a press conference.
According to Moscow, the armed groups managed to be pushed out of Russian territory. Kiev has previously denied direct involvement in clashes in the Russian border region. According to Ukraine, Russian partisans are behind them. Two groups claimed responsibility for the events in the Belgorod region – the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK) and the Legion of Freedom to Russia (LSR), which, according to available information, are apparently made up of Russians operating in Ukraine.
“I think you will see us on the other side. I can't reveal the details, I can't even reveal the direction. The border is quite long,” said Kapustin, who describes himself as the commander of the Russian Volunteer Corps, according to the BBC. He said that two members of his group were injured in clashes in the Belgorod region. Representatives of the Russian Freedom Legion, who also participated in the press conference, reported two dead and ten wounded in their ranks. Moscow earlier reported the killing of more than 70 “Ukrainian nationalists”.
When asked by journalists about reports that the groups allegedly used military equipment provided to Ukraine by the United States to defend against a Russian invasion, Kapustin directly he didn't answer. “I know exactly where I got the weapons from. Unfortunately, not from Western partners,” he said. He also indicated that Western military equipment was captured by Russia in the battle for East Ukraine's Bakhmut and can be bought on the black market, noted Reuters. According to Kapustin, Ukraine supports the RDK with information, fuel, food and medicine.
“And of course the Ukrainian army took our wounded. But anything more than this would complicate things. Every decision we make… across the state border , is our own decision,” added the head of the Russian Volunteer Corps. Similar declarations by individual parties to the conflict cannot be immediately independently verified in the conditions of war.