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Anti-Kremlin militia claims to have yet another incursion in Belgorod Oblast, seeks meeting with local governor

by The Kyiv Independent news desk June 4, 2023 6:58 PM 2 min read
This audio is created with AI assistance

Governor of Russia's Belgorod Oblast Vyacheslav Gladkov claimed on June 4 that he was ready to meet the Russian anti-Kremlin militia behind the latest incursion in Belgorod Oblast.

Gladkov's comments come in response to a statement by the Russian Volunteer Corps, one of the Russian militia groups fighting on Ukraine's side.

On the morning of June 4, the group claimed that it entered Russia's Belgorod Oblast and is fighting near the city of Shchebekino.

Later, they published a video addressing the governor of Belgorod Oblast. In it, they claimed that "as a gesture of goodwill," they are ready to give Gladkov the Russian soldiers they had allegedly captured in Belgorod Oblast, "for the opportunity to talk with him to discuss the current situation in the region and the future of Russia."

"Therefore, we invite you to a dialogue in the church in Novaya Tavolzhanka. Arrive in an ambulance in person, accompanied by a driver, unarmed," Russian Volunteer Corps wrote on Telegram.

Novaya Tavolzhanka is a village in Russia's Belgorod Oblast, next to the Ukrainian border.

According to Gladkov, there has been an incursion in Novaya Tavolzhanka, presumably by the Russian Volunteer Corps, and the fighting was ongoing when he made his comments on the afternoon of June 4.

He didn't agree to come to the village, and suggested that he can meet with the militia "from 5 to 6 p.m. in the city of Shchebekino" and only if the captured Russian soldiers were still alive.

As this story was published, it's been already past 6 p.m. in Belgorod Oblast, and there's been no indication of any meeting.

Belgorod Oblast, which borders Ukraine, recently saw extensive fighting as Russian militia groups that claim to fight alongside Ukraine conducted a successful incursion in the oblast’s territory.

On May 22, the Russian Volunteer Corps and another similar group — the Free Russia Legion — claimed they had crossed into Russia's Belgorod region and taken hold of border villages.

This Week in Ukraine Ep. 9 – What actually happened near Belgorod?
Episode #9 of our weekly video podcast “This Week in Ukraine” is dedicated to the incursion into Belgorod Oblast in Russia by Russian volunteer units fighting on the side of Ukraine. Host Anastasiia Lapatine is joined by the Kyiv Independent senior editor Oleksiy Sorokin. Listen to the audio versi…

Russian authorities announced a "counter-terrorist operation" and evacuated residents from settlements near the Russian-Ukrainian border.

The Russian Defense Ministry said they had defeated what they called "Ukrainian formations," claiming to have "killed 70 combatants" and destroyed four armored combat vehicles and five trucks.

However, the Russian Volunteer Corps denied these claims. According to the group, its members wear MultiCam patterns, not the pixelated camouflage shown in the photo posted by Russian authorities.

Later, on June 1, the group reported another raid on Russian territory.

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