Freedom of Russia Legion continue fight in Russia
The Free Russia Legion are fighting with Putin’s armed forces for the third time in less than two weeks just a day after they claimed to have destroyed vital military equipment belonging to Putin, footage has suggested. On Friday morning, the pro-Ukrainian Russian rebels claimed there is “active fighting” on the outskirts of a village in Belgorod Oblast, which shares a border with Ukraine’s northeast Kharkiv Oblast.
They added that Russian soldiers had “destroyed a Renault car with civilians” inside in attempts to stop the rebels from advancing into the village, suggesting it showed the “unprofessionalism” of Putin’s soldiers, as well as their careless attitude.
Just after 6am local time (4am GMT) on Friday, the Free Russia Legion posted a photo showing one of their tanks, with their flag flying above it, in the Russian village of Novaya Tavolzhanka.
The military hardware was likely a part of the rebels’ efforts on Thursday, alongside the Russian Volunteer Corps, to “liberate” the nearby town of Shebekino.
Alongside the photo, they wrote: “Good morning from our country. Let’s continue the fight!”
An hour later, footage emerged of a handful of the rebels exchanging gunfire with Russian soldiers in Novaya Tavolzhanka.
They have now claimed there is “active fighting on the outskirts of the village” underway and that there have been casualties on both sides.
They said their wounded had been taken to nearby hospitals back over the Ukrainian border but that they would continue to fight because “freedom is won with blood”.
Over the course of their three assaults on Belgorod Oblast, the first of which took place on May 22, they have frequently claimed that Russian forces have fired indiscriminately in their direction, inadvertently harming civilians.
And on Friday, they alleged that “the enemy destroyed a Renault car with civilians, mistaking it for a car with our sabotage group”.
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At least two civilians died, they claimed, accusing Putin’s soldiers of “unprofessionalism” and carelessness.
They later vowed: “All Belgorod region will be free. And the whole of Russia is behind her.”
The Russian Ministry of Defence published a statement on yesterday’s attacks, reporting that they had killed up to 30 of the insurgents.
While there is no evidence to suggest this is true, the MoD revealed in their statement that they had utilised major military equipment to address the counter assaults, indicating that these rebel movements are distracting their forces.
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Both the Free Russian Legion and the Russian Volunteer Corps work alongside, though not under the instruction of, the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, said the attacks were contributing to a “heightened anxiety” among Russians.
They wrote: “Russian officials and milbloggers’ responses to the limited raid in Belgorod Oblast are indicative of a continued heightened anxiety within the Russian information space regarding the war in Ukraine.”
On Wednesday, the commander of the Free Russia Legion, Maximilian Andronikov, who goes by the callsign Caesar, told The Times he had “thousands” of applicants waiting to help storm Moscow.
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