Russian armed opposition forces cross into Russia, report capturing several villages
The Russian Belgorod region came under massive shelling on the morning of May 22. According to social media reports, there were firefights and Ukrainian tanks entered the Russian territory through the Grayvoron checkpoint. Russian authorities established a counter-terrorist operation regime in the region.
The governor of the Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said that " sabotage and reconnaissance group of the Ukrainian Armed Forces" entered into the territory of the Graivoron district. "The Russian Armed Forces, together with the border service, the National Guard and the FSB, are taking the necessary measures to eliminate the enemy. I will provide details," Gladkov wrote on his Telegram channel. He said that two people were wounded after the shelling of the village of Glotovo in the same district. "The woman is in intensive care in serious condition, a male person has moderate severity wounds," the governor added.
Earlier, Gladkov announced that the Grayvoron urban district was shelled by Ukrainian troops. "There were no casualties. Our air defense system worked. Part of the rocket fell into the garden of a private residential household in the village of Antonovka. Explosives technicians and operational services are on the scene, starting to neutralize the explosives," he wrote on Telegram. In addition, according to Gladkov, the village of Kozinka came under mortar fire, as a result of one of the shells hitting a private residential building, a fire broke out.
Gladkov also claims that a "massive information attack" is being carried out on his region in order to cause panic among the population "amid massive shelling of the Grayvoron urban district." He denied reports that the evacuation of the population is being prepared in the Shebekino district.
The Belgorod governor said that from today a counter-terrorist operation regime has been established in the region.
Ukrainian authorities responded to the events in the Belgorod region. The representative of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR), Andriy Yusov, announced that Russians were being pushed back in order to create a "security zone" to protect Ukrainians. "Today, the Russian Volunteer Corps and the Freedom of Russia Legion, which consist of citizens of the Russian Federation, launched an operation to liberate these territories of the Belgorod region from the Putin regime," he said in an interview with the Suspilne TV channel.
Adviser to the head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office, Mykhailo Podolyak, said that Kyiv is not involved in the events in the Belgorod region. "The only driving political force in a totalitarian country of tightened screws is always inevitably the guerrilla movement with weapons in hand. Ukraine is watching with interest the events in the Belgorod region of Russia and is examining the situation. However, it is not directly involved in it. As you know, tanks are sold in any Russian military store, and underground partisan detachments still consist of Russian citizens," he wrote on Twitter.
In turn, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced that the operation is underway "to squeeze out of Russian territory and destroy" the group that penetrated into the Belgorod region. According to him, Russian President Vladimir Putin was informed about the situation, while "there are enough forces and means on the scene." In addition, Peskov said that this was an act of sabotage and stressed that its purpose is to "divert attention from the Bakhmut direction."
Earlier, Russian Telegram channels reported a massive shelling of the Grayvoron district of the Belgorod region. "According to our data, for more than an hour, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have been covering the villages of Novostroevka-Pervaya, Kozinka, Bezymeno, Dobroe, Glotovo and Golovchino. According to preliminary information, one person died," reported the Telegram channel Mash. In addition, it is reported that explosives were dropped from a drone on a residential building in the village of Novaya Tavolzhanka. "According to our information, there were no casualties. The UAV fell down a hundred meters from the buildings. Operational services and explosives technicians are working on scene," Mash reports. In turn, the Telegram channel Shot writes about "a fierce battle with the Ukrainian sabotage group on the border of the Belgorod region near the village of Dronovka." "Military equipment has been involved on both sides, several drones have been spotted in the sky," the channel reports.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Belgorod region established an emergency regime, reports Baza. According to the news outlet, emergency services employees and policemen had been told to come to work.
Meanwhile, the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK) said that its fighters are carrying out combat missions in the territory of Russia. The RDK fighters posted several videos on Telegram in front of the road signs at the entrance to villages in the Bryansk and Belgorod regions and indicated that they continue to fight.
In turn, the Freedom of Russia Legion called on residents of areas near the border with Ukraine to stay at home and "not resist." They promised to provide further information later.
The Legion announced that they took control of the village of Kozinka. "The Legion and the RDK completely liberated the village of Kozinka, Belgorod region. Advance detachments entered Grayvoron. Let's move on," reads the statement published by the Freedom of Russia Legion.
A video showing a tank with the flag of Ukraine crossing into the Russian territory was posted on social networks. According to the video, the drove through the Grayvoron border crossing in the Belgorod region from Ukraine. There has been no official confirmation of this information. The video was first published by the Ukrainian Telegram channel "Skrynka-Pandori".
The governor of the Bryansk region, Alexander Bogomaz, reported that the village of Khoromnoye, Klimovsky district, came under mortar fire. "There were no casualties. As a result of the shelling, one household and outbuilding caught fire. Operational and emergency services are working on scene," Bogomaz wrote on Telegram.