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Russian Volunteer Corps denies military equipment damaged, combatants killed during Belgorod Oblast incursion
The Russian Volunteer Corps, one of the Russian anti-government groups who have declared themselves to be fighting on Ukraine's side, denied claims made by Russian officials on May 23 regarding the destruction of their military equipment and casualties among their combatants.
Russian officials' claims come after 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 in Belgorod Oblast on May 22.
Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of Russia's Belgorod Oblast, announced a "counter-terrorism operation" in the region on May 22 amid the reported attacks. The "counter-terrorism operation" was called off on May 23 after Russian officials declared victory against the groups.
The Russian Defense Ministry said on May 23 they had defeated the "Ukrainian formations," claiming to have "killed 70 combatants" and destroyed four armored combat vehicles and five trucks while "driving the remaining formations from Belgorod Oblast back into Ukrainian territory."
However, the Russian Volunteer Corps denied these claims. According to the Russian Volunteer Corps, their soldiers wear MultiCam patterns, not the pixelated camouflage shown in the photo posted by Russian authorities.
Meanwhile, Gladkov reported on May 23 that Grayvoron and Golovchino residents have returned to their homes. The residents of Gora-Podol, Glotovo, and Kozinka will be returning "in the near future," he added.
On May 22, Gladkov reported that the "majority" of residents in the border villages of Belgorod Oblast, including the town of Grayvoron, had fled.