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Ukraine dismisses Russian claims of clashes with Ukrainian 'saboteurs' as provocation
Governor of Russia's Bryansk Oblast Alexander Bogomaz said a Ukrainian "sabotage and reconnaissance group" had entered the region's territory on March 2, allegedly taking people hostage and inflicting civilian casualties. He didn't provide any proof of the group's existence.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukraine's Presidential Office, called the claim a provocation, saying that Russia "wants to scare its people to justify the attack on another country and the growing poverty after the year of the war" against Ukraine.
Podolyak added, though, that "the partisan movement in Russia is getting stronger and more aggressive" and urged Moscow to "fear" its partisans.
Russia's Federal Security Service reported clashes with "saboteurs," while Russian dictator Vladimir Putin said the alleged incident was a "terrorist act," as cited by Russian independent news outlet Meduza.
On the same day, a video appeared where people in military uniform who call themselves representatives of the Russian Volunteer Corps allegedly fighting in the ranks of Ukraine's International Legion claim responsibility for the incident.
However, it is impossible to verify the legitimacy of this video as well as where and when it was filmed.
Ukrainian Defense Ministry's Main Intelligence Directorate spokesperson Andrii Yusov called the incident "a continuation of Russia's transformation, its purification, and liberation from Putin's dictatorship," mentioning the statement of the Russian Volunteer Corps in his comment for Hromadske.
"These are people who, with weapons in their hands, are fighting against Putin's regime and those who support him... Maybe Russians are starting to wake up, realize something and take some concrete measures," Yusov told Hromadske.