In a surprising turn of events, the Russian army has reportedly eliminated the intruders that had breached the border region of Belgorod, according to statements made by Russian defence officials on Tuesday. These intruders, reported as nationalist factions, were successfully stopped and annihilated during an intense anti-terror operation, which involved a barrage of air strikes and artillery fire, with around seventy Ukrainian terrorists allegedly meeting their end.
In a show of force on Monday, a group of purported Russian volunteers had taken control of the village of Kozinka in the Belgorod region near the Ukrainian border. This manoeuvre was said to be backed by Ukrainian artillery fire, tanks, and heavy machinery. Panic ensued, resulting in the authorities hastily evacuating residents from nine surrounding villages near the town of Grayvoron.
It has been reported by Ukrainian sources that two groups of Russian citizens, fighting on Ukraine’s side, were involved in this attack: the ‘Russian Volunteer Corps’ and the ‘Russian Legion’. If media reports are to be believed, the first group is made up largely of Russian nationalists and devotees of the White nationalist movement, while the second group is said to be composed of monarchists and supporters of Russian imperialism. The Ukrainian government has, however, washed its hands off any involvement in the planning and execution of the attack.
Earlier on Monday, Moscow had dismissed the situation as a publicity stunt, purportedly designed to distract the Ukrainian populace from the Ukrainian military’s loss of control over the city of Bakhmut. However, the tone changed on Tuesday as Russian presidential spokesman Dmitri Peskov highlighted the significance of the incident, asserting that it justified Russia’s ‘special operation’ against Ukraine, a mission the Russian side vowed to continue with renewed vigour.
According to the New York Times, at least three armoured US military vehicles appear to have been used in the attack on the border region. As per the report published on Tuesday, two of these vehicles, known as MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected), seem to have been seized by the Russian side. It remains unclear how these vehicles came into the possession of the pro-Ukrainian attackers and subsequently fell into Russian hands following Monday’s attack.
The United States, the newspaper reports, had provided several hundred of these vehicles to the Ukrainian military. Video recordings indicate that these have so far been deployed on various front lines in Ukraine.
Crimea was not left out of the action either, as it was the stage for another dramatic Ukrainian attack. An ammunition train at the Dzhankoy railway station in the north of the peninsula was apparently hit. According to reports, this train had been loaded with Kalibr-type cruise missiles, often fired by Russian Black Sea Fleet vessels at targets within Ukraine. This attack only further underlines the escalating tension in the region.