NewsTensions rise as volunteer forces seize town in Russia's Belgorod region

Tensions rise as volunteer forces seize town in Russia's Belgorod region

Russian volunteers in the Gorkowski locality
Russian volunteers in the Gorkowski locality
Images source: © Telegram

11:49 AM EDT, March 17, 2024

The border region between Russia and Ukraine has appeared as though a new front had emerged there for the past week. Russian volunteers, with support from Kyiv, announced on Sunday that they had seized control of a town in the Belgorod region. In response, Moscow has deployed sabotage groups to the Sumy region.

On Sunday, posts on Telegram by the Siberian Battalion and the "Freedom of Russia" Legion, shared photos and videos claiming to show their takeover of the town of Gorkovsky in Russia's Belgorod region, adjacent to the Ukrainian border. The content featured them removing flags from a local school building, including the Russian national flag. Preliminary comparisons suggest that the building closely resembles images found on Google Maps.

On the Siberian Battalion’s Telegram channel, there’s a photo of soldiers, with their faces blurred, disrespectfully standing on the Russian flag, allegedly inside an administrative building in Gorkovsky.

Not surprisingly, Russian state-run news agencies have not confirmed these claims. TASS relayed a statement from the Russian Ministry of Defence, asserting that "all attempts to breach the border in the Belgorod region have been repelled".

The Russian Ministry of Defence reported that during the clashes, 65 fighters were killed, and both an infantry fighting vehicle and a D-20 howitzer cannon were destroyed.

"Villages have virtually disappeared"

Journalist Aliona Yasyna reported on the situation in the Sumy region’s south on Espreso TV. She noted that border towns, targeted by Russian volunteers from Tuesday in the Belgorod region, faced intense bombardment by Putin's forces.

“The Velykopysarivska area is witnessing continuous military activity for a week. It seems as if a new battlefront has opened there. The 'Freedom of Russia' Legion, the Russian Volunteer Corps, and the Siberian Battalion have crossed into Russian territory from this community. Consequently, the area is under heavy Russian artillery fire,” Yasyna reported.

She mentioned that the border villages were almost completely leveled. “There are actual battles happening on Russian soil, but the conflict is spilling over into Ukraine. During the day, up to 150 rockets hit these areas, decimating villages along the border with Russia,” she summarized.

Russia dispatches sabotage groups

The Kremlin has also been dispatching sabotage units to create chaos on the Ukrainian side of the border. On Sunday, the Ukrainian Border Guard service reported that, with assistance from the Armed Forces of Ukraine, it prevented incursions by three such groups in the Sumy region’s north within 24 hours.

According to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, encounters with these saboteurs occurred in the towns of Stara Huta and Bruski in the Sumy region.

Source: Telegram/ Espreso/ State Border Service of Ukraine/TASS

Related content