A unit of “freedom fighters” raided across the international frontier from northeast Ukraine into western Russia on Thursday, attacking a border town and possibly destroying Russian army equipment, as Kremlin officials claimed local defense forces defeated the raiders.

Spokesmen from two anti-Kremlin groups responsible for a cross-border attack last week – the Freedom of Russia Legion (FRL) and the Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC) – in parallel video statements took credit for the incursion near the Russian town Shebekino, in Russia’s western Belgorod Oblast, some eight kilometers from the Ukrainian border.

Infantry backed with armored personnel carriers, some flying the blue-white flag of the Russian partisans, were moving through Shebekino by midday, independent Ukrainian news reports said.

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Ukraine Interior Ministry official Anton Herashchenko published drone video of “partisan” vehicles driving, seemingly unhindered, down a Shebekino main street.

Belgorod Oblast governor Vyacheslav Gladkov in a mid-morning comment published on his official Telegram channel confirmed a border incursion backed by artillery had taken place in the vicinity of Shebekino and claimed local defense forces had turned it back.

“During the night, the city (Shebekino) came under heavy shelling and it is claimed that the Ministry of Internal Affairs building in the city (was hit). Some residents have decided to leave,” Gladkov said in a statement.

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“According to preliminary reports, an active attack near the border has been repelled. Single shots can now be heard in the vicinity of the Shebekino checkpoint.”

A Russian Defense Ministry statement published in Moscow said local defense forces repelled “a terrorist attack” consisting of two companies of infantry and supported by tanks. The Kremlin official statement claimed Russian infantry, artillery and air force units killed dozens of “invaders” and demolished multiple armored vehicles – but did not offer evidence.

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A Grad multiple rocket launcher artillery strike fired early on Thursday morning badly damaged the Shebekino police station, set it on fire, and knocked out power in the village, the independent Russian news agency Astra reported. Social media video from the town, published by Astra, showed a dormitory burning at multiple locations from apparent shell or rocket strikes to the roof.

A tank operating on the Ukrainian side of the border was firing at targets on the Russian side of the line, multiple posts on a Shebekino social media chat group said. Images published by the pro-Russia information platform Readovka showed empty streets in Shebekino and moderate damage to some buildings from mortar strikes.

A Shebekino resident in a video published by the UNIAN news agency said Shebekino had been under artillery fire for days and that authorities had not attempted to evacuate civilians.

A statement from the RVC called on local residents to stay indoors. Other UNIAN content showed Russian Federation officials in Shebekino burning government documents and long queues at a town filling station.

A masked FRL soldier in a video statement said the attack was launched “to bring freedom, peace and calm,” adding: “As a result of the cowardice of the Putinist jackals, we already have a lot of captured weapons. As a result of that, we have been able to arm more of our membership.

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“We are advancing to liberate all of Russia, from Belgorod to Vladivostok. The white, blue, and white flag of freedom will be in Moscow.”

RVC fighters published images of themselves inside what they claimed were recently captured Russian government buildings. Video purportedly captured by drones flying above the Shebekino region showed a successful artillery strike on a Russian heavy mortar system and a pair of army supply trucks. 

Gladkov in a subsequent video statement said eight civilians had been injured in shelling and rocket strikes and reiterated the Moscow official line that the opposition fighters had neither crossed the border nor ever entered Shebekino.

“The enemy was never inside the territory of Belgorod Oblast and is not there now,” Gladkov said in a video statement.

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Comments (3)

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Jorge O Soriano
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Finally, Russians show battlefield effectiveness - against Russians - in Russia. Keep up the good work!

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jm
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closed bomb shelters in a time of war? great way to get the public killed. any repairs should have taken precedence considering the amount of missles that have been fired at them. pretty sad. hope this nightmare comes to an end for your people 3

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Pavov
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FREE RUSSIA FROM WAR CRIMINALS!

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