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Russia claims fighting in Kursk, Belgorod oblasts amid ongoing anti-Kremlin militia raid

by Kateryna Denisova and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 14, 2024 2:11 PM 2 min read
The patches with a white-blue-white flag and the logo of the Free Russia Legion are seen during a briefing in northern Ukraine, not far from the Russian border, on May 24, 2023. (Photo by NurPhoto/Getty Images)
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The Russian National Guard claimed it was repelling an attack near the village of Tyotkino in Kursk Oblast allegedly carried out by "sabotage groups" on March 14.

The statement came amid the combat operations conducted by the Freedom of Russia Legion and the Siberian Battalion, which crossed the border into Russia from Ukraine on March 12 and reportedly launched another attack.

Roman Starovoit, Kursk Oblast governor, claimed the battles with "Ukrainian saboteurs" were ongoing. The Russian National Guard claimed to have fought the attack near Tyotkino together with the Russian Armed Forces and Federal Security Service (FSB) border guards.

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…

Later, the Freedom of Russia Legion published a video purporting to show an attack on Russian ammunition in Tyotkino.

Earlier, the anti-Kremlin militia claimed to have taken under control the village bordering Ukraine.  Ukraine’s military intelligence said the units are comprised of Russian citizens acting as part of Ukraine's "security and defense forces."

Yusov added, however, that their operations on Russian soil are not conducted on Kyiv's orders.

The Russian Defense Ministry also claimed to have thwarted an "attempted breakthrough" near the village of Spodaryushino in Belgorod Oblast on March 14, according to Russian state-controlled media outlet RBC.

The Freedom of Russia Legion, the Siberian Battalion, and the Russian Volunteer Corps published an appeal to the Kursk and Belgorod oblasts governors, urging them to declare an evacuation for civilians in the two regions and "to stop following criminal orders."

"The liberation of Russian regions from (Russian President Vladimir) Putin's terrorist regime is underway these minutes. Massive strikes are now being launched against Putin's forces in the Belgorod and Kursk oblasts," the statement read.  

"The operation to liberate the Kursk and Belgorod regions will continue until all aims are achieved," the anti-Kremlin militia said.

The Siberian Battalion urged Russians via social media to ignore the Russian presidential elections, which are set to take place on March 15-17, calling the ballots and polling stations "fiction."

The Kyiv Independent couldn’t independently verify the claims, and there were no official comments from Ukrainian authorities.

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