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Anti-Kremlin militia claims it captured local administration in Russia's Belgorod Oblast

by Sonya Bandouil and Dmytro Basmat March 18, 2024 3:57 AM 2 min read
Russian volunteer fighters from the Siberian Battalion claimed to have entered the Gorkovsky settlement on March 17, 2024 in Russia's Belgorod Oblast and taken control of the local administration building. (Siberian Battalion/Telegram)
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Russian volunteer fighters from the Siberian Battalion claimed to have entered the Gorkovsky settlement in Russia's Belgorod Oblast and taken control of the local administration building, the militia said on March 17.

“Units of the Russian liberation forces, together with volunteers from the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, entered the settlement of Gorkovsky in the Russian Federation and captured the building of the local administration," the militia said on Telegram.

The Kyiv Independent cannot independently verify the militia's claim.

Fiercely critical of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Freedom of Russia Legion, Siberian Battalion, and the Russian Volunteer Corps have been carrying out cross-border incursions into Russia’s Belgorod and Kursk oblasts since March 12.

The militias claimed to have captured 25 Russian soldiers following their incursions into the western Russian oblasts.

“The shelling of Ukraine from Belgorod Oblast must stop,” the battalion said as a rationale for its incursion into Russian territory.

They have repeatedly called for citizens to evacuate or take shelter, as they carry out limited operations targeting Russian military positions.

In response to the previous incursion by the anti-Kremlin militias, Russia's Defense Ministry claimed that it “thwarted Kyiv’s attempt to make a breakthrough into the Russian border territory in the Belgorod and Kursk oblasts.”

Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine’s military intelligence chief, said on March 16 that Ukraine would help anti-Kremlin militias in their operations on Russian territory and support them “to the extent possible.”

Budanov noted that the militias have helped Ukraine from the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion and that they are no longer a “grouping”, but they are now “becoming a force.”

The Siberian Battalion was the third unit established by Ukraine for Russian nationals who want to join the fight against the Kremlin. The militia primarily consists of ethnic minorities from Siberia, including Buryats, Yakuts, Tuvans, and others.

What do we know about the ‘Siberian Battalion’ that reportedly crossed into Russia?
Editor’s Note: The Kyiv Independent doesn’t provide the full names of soldiers mentioned in the story to protect them and their families from persecution in Russia. They are identified by callsigns. KYIV OBLAST – In the early hours of March 12, Russian state media sounded the alarm. A number of Ukr…
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