Published: Less than 20 min ago
Guerrilla troops crossed the border into Russia and created eight hours of chaos.
The people of Belgorod are said to have asked to be invaded – because of the mistakes of the Russian military.
That’s what a member of the Russian Freedom Legion claims.
– They are tired of being bombed, says “Caesar”.
The commotion broke out on the Russian side of the border with Ukraine on Monday morning.
The groups of the Russian Freedom Legion and the Russian Volunteer Corps crossed the border with combat vehicles and reportedly shelled the town of Grajvoron and two nearby villages.
Scores of residents reportedly fled the Belgorod region as “fierce battles” were fought between the guerrilla troops and Russian border troops.
“Sorry for the mistakes”
Putin was informed of the surprise attack and Russia launched an “anti-terrorist operation”.
After eight hours, the gunpowder smoke settled and the Russian partisans retreated to Ukraine. It is unclear how many were killed and injured in the chaos.
On Tuesday evening, new explosions were reported inside Belgorod. According to the Russian authorities, it is about an intercepted drone that released an explosive charge on a road in the city.
No one is said to have been injured.
Russia has stated that it continues to have an operation underway against “terrorist activities”.
The Ukrainian leadership states that it had nothing to do with the attacks on Russian soil, but believes that both groups acted on their own.
Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Ukrainian government, has now shared an interview with one of the members of the Russian Volunteer Corps on Twitter.
The man, codenamed Caesar, states that the background to the border invasion was a request from the residents themselves.
They must have been saddened by the Russian military’s mistake – which has led to bombs intended for Ukraine falling on their own side of the border.
Bombed own road crossing
– We know that the Russian army is not the most professional. Despite the fact that it was stated to be the second largest in the world, it has been learned that it is a scam, says the man in the interview.
– Sometimes they mix up the coordinates when they fire artillery or rockets.
He mentions the incident in April when a Russian Su-34 fighter jet accidentally bombed Belgorod in an intended late-night raid on Ukraine.
The bomb created a 20 meter crater in a road crossing and was so powerful that a car was hurled onto the roof of a grocery store, writes the BBC.
Two women were injured and taken to hospital.
– The people of Belgorod contacted us and asked us to carry out a peace-making operation in the area because they were tired of being bombed, says Caesar.
“Got letters from the people”
The interviewer asks him to clarify: The people of Belgorod made a formal request to the Russian Legion of Freedom?
– Yes, they wrote a letter with a request to carry out a peacekeeping operation in the area.
Can you explain in detail what you mean by “peacekeeping operation”?
– It is a disarmament of the Belgorod area. People are tired of war and want peace, says Caesar.
The Russian Legion of Freedom was created when the war began. It consists of Russian deserters and regime opponents, fighting on the side of Ukraine against Russia.
The other group, the Russian Volunteer Corps, also fights on the side of Ukraine and is against Putin. They consist of about 200 ultra-conservative Russians and are led by a known neo-Nazi.
Can both hurt and help Putin
Analyst Ivan Fomin tells Newsweek that the border attack could hurt Putin among some groups in Russian society — but also help him among other groups.
– The most pro-war factions in Russian society may see these attacks as further evidence of the Kremlin’s weakness, thus reducing Putin’s popularity among these groups, says Fomin to Newsweek.
– But at the same time, the attacks can increase support for the war. Until now, Putin has had a hard time explaining the reason for the war and thereby convincing enough people to risk their lives in Ukraine.