Putin under fire… Russian mainland attacked by ‘Ukraine-backed’ rebels

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been caught off guard. On Feb. 22 (local time), Russian forces in the western Russian province of Belgorod, which borders Ukraine, were attacked by Ukrainian-linked Russian rebels. Just as the Kremlin was celebrating the complete capture of the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, its biggest battleground, it was struck by a blow from the mainland.

Of course, Ukraine’s position is “nothing to do with us.” However, the circumstances suggest that it may have played a role. The group that claimed responsibility for the attack, the Russian Freedom Fighters, is made up of Russians, but is based in Ukraine and is officially recognized by Ukrainian authorities as a “volunteer” force. It could have been a Ukrainian ‘sex symbol’ that took advantage of Russia’s focus on Bakhmut.

Chaos in Belgorod, residents evacuated… 英 “Fighting in more than three locations”

According to the Associated Press and the UK’s Guardian, fighting between Russian military and security forces and the Russian Free Army continued for the second day in a row in Belgorod Oblast, Russia, which borders Ukraine. Belgorod Oblast has served as a supply and support base for Russian forces during the war in Ukraine. It is only 80 kilometers from Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine, which was once occupied by Russia.

“We carried out a cross-border raid and took control of the village of Kozinka in Belgorod Oblast (right next to the border),” the group claimed on social media. Another anti-Putin group, the Army of Russia, said it also took part in the operation.

The scene was chaotic. Videos circulating on social media show armored vehicles forcibly entering border checkpoints and helicopters flying low and dropping flares. Civilian casualties also appear to have occurred. Belgorod Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Sunday that “a couple was injured. The woman is in the emergency room with serious injuries to her lower body and the man to his abdomen.” The day before, an 82-year-old woman had died in a bloodbath.

Russia quickly declared a counterterrorism operation. Security forces are trying to neutralize the attack by conducting ID checks and intercepting communications, but the situation is difficult. Earlier in the day, Governor Gladkov announced that “the anti-terrorist operation is not complete, and residents should not return to their homes.” This means the city is still unsafe. The UK Ministry of Defense estimates that “fighting is likely to have taken place in at least three locations in Belgorod Oblast between 19 and 22 November.”

Ukrainian soldiers wait in a tank near Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, on March 23. Bakhmut=AP

Russia “furious over Bakhmut defeat”… Ukraine ‘drawing a line in the sand’

Russia is convinced Ukraine was responsible. “The sabotage was carried out by Ukraine to divert attention from its ‘defeat in the Battle of Bakhmut,'” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. Earlier, Russia declared full control of Bakhmut on April 20. Ukraine officially denied it, but the prevailing analysis is that it has effectively fallen. Indeed, Ukraine has reportedly set up a “strategic encirclement” around the edges of Bakhmut after surrendering the city center, so it’s possible that the Russians are using “reinforcements” to distract from their mainland offensive. The Graiboron area of Belgorod Oblast, where the first attack took place, is about 380 kilometers from Bakhmut메이저놀이터.

Ukraine denied involvement, saying it was “watching with interest.” It emphasized that the attacks were “carried out by Russians. It is aimed at hurting Mr. Putin’s leadership. “Russia is losing control of the entire region and the situation,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhail Podolyak said in written comments to Reuters. Ukraine has received Western weapons and has promised not to use them “to attack the Russian mainland,” so it is unlikely that it will formalize its actions, even if it is behind them.

Some analysts have suggested that Ukraine may have taken a page from the Russian military’s playbook. “The attack is reminiscent of the 2014 covert invasion of Ukraine’s Crimea by ‘unmarked’ Russian troops,” the Wall Street Journal said, noting that Putin denied Russian military involvement at the time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *