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Russia claims 'defeating' Belgorod incursion without providing any footage
Russian Defense Ministry announced a defeat of the “Ukrainian formations" that supposedly attacked Russia’s Belgorod Oblast.
The Russian authorities claim to have "killed 70 combatants" and destroyed four armored combat vehicles and five trucks while “driving the remaining formations from Belgorod Oblast back in the Ukrainian territory."
According to the statement, Russia employed troops of the Western Military District supported by artillery and aircraft.
The Kyiv Independent could not independently verify the claim, while the Russian Defense Military provided no footage backing their claim.
The Free Russia Legion, that has allegedly crossed into Russia, has later posted several videos alleging that the fight is ongoing.
On May 22, a group of armed men calling themselves the Free Russia Legion and the Russian Volunteer Corps recorded videos saying they had crossed into Russia and taken hold of bordering villages.
Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of Russia's Belgorod Oblast, announced a "counter-terrorist operation" in the region on May 22 amid reported attacks by Russian anti-government groups.
Ukraine's officials have issued mixed statements in response to the reported incursion.
Spokesperson for Ukraine's military intelligence Andrii Yusov confirmed to Suspilne news outlet on May 22 that armed Russian anti-government groups allegedly fighting on Ukraine's side have indeed started a combat operation in Russia's Belgorod Oblast, but
Yusov stressed that while the operation aims to create a "safe strip" at the Russo-Ukrainian border, it is conducted "exclusively by Russian citizens."
Mykhailo Podoliak, an advisor to the head of Ukraine's Presidential Office, denied any involvement by Kyiv.
"The only driving political force in a totalitarian country of tightened screws is always an armed guerrilla movement. Ukraine is watching the events in the Belgorod region of Russia with interest and studying the situation, but it has nothing to do with it," Podoliak tweeted.