Daily Mail

Did rebel Ukrainian unit carry out attack in Russia?

- By Mark Nicol Diplomacy Editor

A UKRAINIAN fringe group is said to have conducted an attack inside southern Russia – in an incident shrouded by claim and counter-claim.

The so-called Russian Volunteer Corps, a renegade unit, reportedly crossed the border from Ukraine and opened fire in the village of Lyubchany in the Bryansk region. A local resident was allegedly killed and a ten-year-old wounded.

Russian media outlets described it as a ‘terrorist attack’ and said the 45strong unit took hostages and fired at civilians, claims strenuousl­y denied by Ukrainian officials. Mykhaylo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, said: ‘The story about a sabotage group in Russia is a classic deliberate provocatio­n. Russia wants

‘Those responsibl­e will be crushed’

to scare its people to justify the attack on another country and the growing poverty after the year of war.’

The Ukrainian government believes that Vladimir Putin, in a bid to bolster domestic support for the war, wants to persuade Russians that their country is under threat. According to Kyiv, that is why Russia supposedly fabricates stories about pro-Nazi groups launching strikes inside its borders.

The Kremlin appeared eager to exploit the incident for propaganda purposes. A spokesman said Putin cancelled a trip to southern Russia and summoned security officials to a crisis meeting. In a TV address the Russian leader said the ‘terrorist act’ would not achieve anything and those responsibl­e would be ‘crushed’.

This seemingly orchestrat­ed response to an isolated incident may prove a ‘false flag’ – with Russia using what happened as a precursor to an escalation of its military operations against Ukraine. On its social media channels, the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK) claimed credit for the raid.

It describes itself as a ‘volunteer formation in the armed forces of Ukraine’. In a statement released on Telegram the group said it mounted the incursion ‘to show compatriot­s there is hope, that free Russian people with weapons in their hands can fight the regime’. Unverified videos showed RDK fighters posing for photograph­s outside a post office in Bryansk Oblast (region) and clutching a flag and semi-automatic rifles.

The group was formed in 2022 and comprises anti-Putin Russian exiles and Right-wing extremists. It is said to be led by a former Russian intelligen­ce agent Ilya Bogdan.

Ukraine has been intensifyi­ng its efforts to strike deep inside Russian territory. Earlier this week a Ukrainian drone crash landed near Moscow.

 ?? ?? Rebels: Russian Volunteer Corps fighters pose with rifles and the unit’s flag
Rebels: Russian Volunteer Corps fighters pose with rifles and the unit’s flag

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