fighters from Ukraine make an armed incursion into Russia, an evacuated nuclear storage facility
The Russian region of Belgorod was the target of an incursion by armed fighters from Ukraine on Monday 22 May. In an attempt to repel this new attack on the country’s soil, Russia has decreed a “anti-terrorist operation zone lawful regime” in this area and evacuated the civilians.
If other operations have taken place in recent weeks in this border region, this is the first to take such a scale, with several villages hit by shells. It also illustrates the permeability of Russian defenses.
Russia has immediately evacuated the Belgorod-22 nuclear weapons storage site following the attack claimed by Russian rebels in the region, Andri Yussov, spokesman for the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry (GUR), announced, quoted by several news organizations. , including the agency Ukrainian form and public television suspended.
There “panic” by the Russian authorities, which also results in the evacuation of civilians, is obvious, added the GUR spokesman, whose statements cannot be verified.
“The situation remains extremely tense”
In response, the FSB (the Russian security services) introduced Monday afternoon “anti-terrorist operation zone legal regime” in the region, giving increased powers to the authorities to carry out armed operations, control civilians or even evacuate populations. This is the first since the start of the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
The governor of the Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, announced that the fighting had left eight people injured and that civilians were being evacuated from the area. “The situation remains extremely tense”he said on Telegram, indicating that authorities were going from house to house to warn the population. “A large number have left the area in question, we help with our means of transport those who do not have one”he added.
The localities of Zamostié and Glotovo were attacked by fighters as well as the district capital, Gaïvoron, according to the same source. “The Russian Armed Forces together with border guards, national guard and security services are taking all necessary measures to eliminate the enemy”he said.
Actions never claimed by Ukraine
Kiev has denied, as it does every time, any involvement in these actions on Russian territory. “Ukraine follows the events in the Belgorod region with interest (…), but it has nothing to do with it”assured Mykhaïlo Podoliak, adviser to the Ukrainian presidency.
The world app
The morning of the world
Every morning you can find our selection of 20 articles not to be missed
Download the app
As a large-scale Ukrainian counter-offensive looms, Russian territory has been the target of an increasing number of sabotage, bombings and drone strikes blamed on Kiev in recent months and weeks. Actions never claimed by Ukraine, which prefers to evoke the trail of Russian partisans.
The ongoing operation has been claimed on a Telegram channel presenting itself as belonging “Legion of Freedom for Russia”a group of Russians fighting on the Ukrainian side who had already claimed responsibility for other attacks in the same region.
“The time has come to end the Kremlin dictatorship”said in a video broadcast by this channel a man who had been introduced to Agence France-Presse in December as “Caesar”spokesman for the group, identified by the media as a former Russian neo-Nazi who crossed over to the Ukrainian side in 2014. According to the channel, the group has “completely liberated” the village of Kozinka and attacked another locality, the capital Gaïvoron. These claims were not independently verifiable.
“Fighting continues” in Bakhmout, according to Kiev
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been briefed, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, who believed it was an attempt by Kiev to “To divert attention” of the fall of Bakhmout.
Russian forces over the weekend claimed the capture of this devastated city in eastern Ukraine, the scene of the conflict’s longest and deadliest battle.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has denied the loss of Bakhmout, and his army says it still holds a small area as it continues to push through the Russian flanks north and south of the city. This was told by Ukrainian soldiers who fought around Bakhmut Kiev independent that the fighting on the outskirts of the city continued, but that the army had actually lost control of the last streets filled with high-rise buildings within the city limits. Ukrainian forces are now defending positions in sparsely populated areas on the outskirts of the city.
Ukrainian troops are still able to approach the city, but due to heavy Russian army artillery, it is complicated to move equipment and vehicles to the positions, according to the Kyiv Independent.
Successful Ukrainian counterattacks north and south of Bakhmut began on May 9 and are continuing, but ultimately were not enough to stop Russia’s final advance in the city’s final streets, Ukrainian media added.
“The fighting continues”confirmed the Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Defense, Ganna Maliar, especially for “the dominant heights to the north and south”, where the Ukrainian army claimed to have regained ground from the Russians.
For his part, the head of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigojine, confirmed that his men on the front line would withdraw by January 1.eh June and transfer their positions to Russian regular troops.
On the Ukrainian side, authorities claimed to have countered unprecedented nighttime strikes on the city of Dnipro in the central eastern part of the country with missiles and explosive drones. Seven people were injured in Dnipro and seven others in its region during this attack carried out using “missiles of various types” and Iranian-made Shahed drones, according to the Ukrainian military.
In Kherson region (south), a 45-year-old man was killed by shrapnel during a strike, and Russian attacks in Donetsk region (east) left two dead, according to Ukrainian authorities.