- The last of the nationalists were pushed back into Ukraine, where they kept getting shot at until they were all dead," the report said.
- The Legion says that Ukraine has recognized it and that some of its members have fought against Russia in Ukraine.
Russia’s military said on Tuesday that it had stopped what seemed to be one of the worst attacks from Ukraine across the border since the war started. They said that more than 70 attackers were killed in a fight that lasted about 24 hours.
Moscow said that people in the Ukrainian military were behind the attack that started on Monday. Kyiv made it sound like Russian supporters were rising up against the Kremlin. It was hard to put the two stories together and say for sure who was behind the attack or what its goals were.
The battle, which took place in the Belgorod region of southwest Russia, about 80 kilometers north of the city of Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine, was a fresh warning that Russia is still vulnerable to attack, not just the parts of Ukraine that Russia controls. The area is a Russian military hub with fuel and ammunition stores. Last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave an order to improve defenses and make the country more ready for attacks.
The Russian military said that it had killed more than 70 “Ukrainian nationalists” and destroyed four armored trucks. There was no proof of those losses from a third party.
The defense ministry said that Russian troops had surrounded the enemy fighters and killed them with “air strikes, artillery fire, and direct action by border units.” “The last of the nationalists were pushed back into Ukraine, where they kept getting shot at until they were all dead,” the report said. He didn’t say anything about Russian deaths.
Kyiv said that the raid was not their fault. Hanna Maliar, who is an assistant to the Ukrainian defense minister, said that the attackers were “Russian patriots” who “rebelled against the Putin regime.” The Freedom of Russia Legion and the Russian Volunteer Corps, the two groups that said they did it, both say they are made up of armed Russian soldiers who want to get rid of President Putin.
The Legion says that Ukraine has recognized it and that some of its members have fought against Russia in Ukraine. The RVC has taken credit for attacks in Russia in the past, including a raid across the border in March in the Bryansk area. When Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, was asked about claims that the attackers were ethnic Russians, he said, “They are Ukrainian fighters from Ukraine.” There are a lot of people from Russia who live in Ukraine. But they are still terrorists from Ukraine.”