Thursday, 13 Jun 2024

Anti-Putin group vows there will be more incursions into Russia

Ukraine: Smoke rises from Russian border post in Kozinka

A paramilitary group opposed to Vladimir Putin that’s claimed responsibility for an attack on a Russian border region have reportedly vowed to launch further incursions.

The Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC), led by its founder Denis Kapustin (also known as Denis Nikitin), says it was behind an armed raid in the Belgorod region. Speaking to reporters on the Ukrainian side of the border a day after his group took credit for the strike, Kapustin suggested the RVC would launch more attacks in Russia in the future.

“I think you will see us again on that side,” he said. “I cannot reveal those upcoming things, I cannot even reveal the direction. The… border is pretty long, yet again there will be a spot where things will get hot.”

He said soldiers from his rebel militia group had held “around 42 square kilometres” of Russian territory “for quite a while”.

“We’re fighting for freedom, we’re fighting against injustice, so we’re fighting against torture, we’re fighting against terrible acts of police brutality,” he said.

Russia initially pointed the finger at Ukraine for the incursion and claimed that 70 of the insurgents were killed or forced to retreat. This was disputed by Kapustin, however, who said two of his fighters suffered light injuries, another two were killed and 10 others were wounded.

He added that they’d also claimed a Russian armoured vehicle and anti-drone gun as trophies.

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There have been concerns that weapons supplied by the West to Ukraine could end up being used in Russia. But Kapustin said the military equipment used in the attack had not come from weaponry donated by the US to help Ukraine defend itself from Russian attacks.

“I know exactly where I got my weapons from – unfortunately not from the western partners,” he said.

US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said: “As a more general principle…we do not encourage or enable strikes inside of Russia and we’ve made that clear. But as we’ve also said, it’s up to Ukraine to decide how to conduct this war.”

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