Russian Defectors Planning ‘Shock’ After Forays Throughout Border

Two teams of Russian fighters serving with the Ukrainian Armed Forces are planning an operation that can “shock” Moscow, months after they crossed into Russia’s Belgorod area and claimed to grab a village, based on a Ukrainian intelligence official.

The Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC) and the Freedom of Russia Legion have disappeared from the media as a result of they’re “getting ready for intensive operations” that purpose to strike important targets inside Russia, Vadym Skibitsky, the deputy head of Ukraine’s protection Intelligence company (GUR), advised Ukrainian publication Ukrainska Pravda in an interview revealed Wednesday.

Russian fighters serving within the Ukrainian Armed Forces crossed from Ukraine into Russia’s Belgorod area in late Might. Days later, in early June, Russian troopers combating the anti-Moscow militia complained that “whole regiments” have been being worn out, whereas Newsweek was advised that the fighters had captured a few of Russia’s “trophy” gear.

The Freedom of Russia Legion was shaped weeks after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine started in February 2022, and is made up of defectors from the Russian armed forces and Russian and Belarusian volunteers. The RVC says its members embrace Russians combating on Ukraine’s aspect and in opposition to the Kremlin regime.

Fighters of the Russian Volunteer Corps attend a presentation for the media in northern Ukraine, not removed from the Russian border, on Might 24, 2023. A Ukrainian intelligence officer has claimed Russians combating for Kyiv have a “shock” deliberate for Moscow.

Ilya Ponomarev, an exiled Russian politician who says he’s the political consultant for the Freedom of Russia Legion, advised Newsweek in June that the group, alongside the RVC, had crossed into the border city of Shebekino in Belgorod oblast.

He mentioned the teams purpose “to liberate Russia from Putinism” and that that they had “liberated” the villages of Kozinka and Graivoron in the identical area. Kozinka lies immediately alongside the Ukraine-Russia border, with Graivoron only a mile additional into Moscow’s territory.

Talking on the most recent developments on Thursday, Ponomarev confirmed to Newsweek that the RVC and the Legion are planning separate operations.

“It isn’t a joint factor—RVC is planning one factor, and the Legion is [planning] one thing completely different.”

GUR official Skibitskyi mentioned on Wednesday that the RVC and the Legion are at the moment getting ready for additional operations.

“After they entered [Belgorod in May and June], Russia was not prepared and didn’t understand what was occurring on the time,” mentioned Skibitskyi. “However since then, Russia has considerably elevated its presence within the border space close to us.

“Secondly, there may be the gear of the territories by way of engineering, the strengthening of air protection, the strengthening of intelligence programs, and different issues designed to stop the actions of such teams.

“Accordingly, planning is troublesome now, however actions are being deliberate,” Skibitskyi added. “They’re being carried out utilizing not solely manpower, but additionally different belongings and assets in an effort to strike essentially the most important targets on the territory of the Russian Federation.”

Newsweek has contacted Russia’s International Ministry by way of electronic mail for remark.

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