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Anti-Kremlin militia says fighting ongoing in 5 Russian settlements

by Elsa Court March 13, 2024 9:05 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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Fighting between anti-Kremlin militias and the Russian army is taking place in five settlements near the Ukrainian border, Oleksii Baranovskyi, a fighter with the Freedom of Russia Legion, said on air on March 13.

The Freedom of Russia Legion and another militia, the Siberian Battalion, crossed the border into Russia from Ukraine on March 12 to conduct combat operations in Belgorod and Kursk oblasts.

Both the Freedom of Russia Legion and the Siberian Battalion posted videos on their social media platforms purporting to show their respective groups operating in Russia.

The Freedom of Russia Legion then claimed to have taken under control the village of Tyotkino in Kursk Oblast.

The legion launched an incursion into Belgorod Oblast in May 2023. Baranovskyi said that the Russian army was well prepared for the new incursion in the region, as "additional fortifications appeared there and they dug various trenches."

The Kyiv Independent could not verify Baranovskyi's claims.

Baranovskyi also discussed the upcoming presidential election in Russia on March 16 and 17, which is set to cement Russian President Vladimir Putin's grip on power.

The attacks were "timed with the so-called elections," Baranovskyi said, and referred to the fighting as a "voting method."

"We, as caring citizens of Russia, have thus decided our political will, our attitude towards these elections, and the regime of Vladimir Putin."

"I have no doubt that the main purpose is to, if not disrupt the presidential elections in Russia, then at least somehow interfere with the normal process of expressing the will of citizens," Putin said in an interview with Russian state-controlled news agency RIA Novosti and Russia-1 TV channel on March 12.

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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