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Russian anti-Kremlin militias tell Russian citizens near Ukrainian border to evacuate

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 13, 2024 2:31 PM 2 min read
Members of the Russian anti-Kremlin militia group, the Siberian Battalion, training in Kyiv Oblast, in December 2023. (Emmanuelle Chaze/The Kyiv Independent)
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Three Russian anti-Kremlin militias issued a joint statement on March 13 telling Russian citizens located by the Ukrainian border to evacuate, saying that they planned to launch attacks against Russian military positions in the area.

The statement came a day after the Freedom of Russia Legion and Siberian Battalion, both militia groups consisting of Russian citizens that fight alongside Ukraine against Russia, crossed the Ukrainian border into Russia's Belgorod and Kursk oblasts and began engaging the Russian military.

The Freedom of Russia Legion later said that it had taken control of the village of Tyotkino in Kursk Oblast.

The joint statement, issued along with the Russian Volunteer Corps, appealed to citizens and officials of Belgorod Oblast.

"(Russian President Vladimir) Putin's killers are carrying out massive attacks on peaceful Ukrainian cities, placing their positions between your homes, your children's schools and government institutions," the statement said.

"The shelling of Ukraine from the territory of Belgorod must stop!"

As a result, the militias said they have been "forced" to fire upon Russian military positions in the area.

They also urged authorities in Belgorod and Kursk oblasts to evacuate civilians in order to prevent casualties.

Russia's Defense Ministry claimed the previous day that it had repelled the militias' incursions and caused hundreds of casualties on the attackers.

The Kyiv Independent cannot verify either the claims of territory seized by the militias or the accounts from the Russian side.

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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