Russian volunteer forces fighting alongside Kyiv on Saturday, March 16, urged civilians in Belgorod to proceed to the shelters, warning of impending large-scale attacks on military targets within the city.

"Today, at 17:00, a massive strike will be carried out on military facilities and positions of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in Belgorod," stated three groups mainly composed of Russian citizens – the Freedom of Russia Legion (LSR), the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK), and the Siberian Battalion – in a joint statement.

"We urge everyone who has not yet managed to leave the region to immediately go to shelters! You don't have to become a human shield for Putin's security forces. Take care of yourself and your loved ones."


At the same time, shortly following this announcement, local Telegram channels started posting videos with the alleged strikes.

"A missile danger siren has been activated in Belgorod and the Belgorod region. If you are at home, do not approach the windows. Take shelter in rooms without windows with solid walls (corridor, bathroom, toilet, pantry). If you are outdoors, go down to a shelter or other safe place," wrote Belgorod governor Gladkov.

Bombardments killed two people and set an oil facility ablaze in Russia on Saturday, March 16, officials said, on the second day of elections guaranteed to cement President Vladimir Putin's hardline rule.

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Sources told Kyiv Post that various brands of gasoline and diesel fuel with a total volume of 12.5 thousand cubic meters were stored there.

Presidential polls opened this week, but voting has been marred by an uptick in fatal Ukrainian aerial attacks and a series of incursions into Russian territory by pro-Ukrainian sabotage groups.

Fresh bombardments prompted authorities to close schools and shopping centres in the Belgorod region bordering Ukraine, undermining the Kremlin's efforts to isolate Russians from the war with its neighbour -- particularly during the highly touted elections.

This weeks’ cross-border fighting in western Russia between Kremlin military forces and anti-Putin Russian citizens has spread rumors and made claims across multiple sources and outlets.


Here are the five key things you should know to be the most well-informed you can be for now.

What’s confirmed

  • Volunteer fighters from three anti-Putin organizations called the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK), the Freedom of Russia Legion (LSR) and Siberian Battalion crossed the Ukraine-Russia border at no fewer than three locations on Tuesday.
  • All three groups say they are Russian citizens fighting for freedom in their country. As with previous cross-border raids, this latest round of attacks by anti-Kremlin forces into Russian Federation territory was openly supported by Ukrainian military.
  • Each of the raiding groups appears to have numbered between 50 and 150 fighters, plus support troops. The raids are neither a few infiltrators nor a major ground attack.
  • The Russians fought back first with border troops, regular army infantry and Lancet FPV drones, later artillery. By Thursday afternoon air strikes were documented.
  • The cross-border attacks triggered firefights near the village Tetkino in Russia’s Kursk Oblast, and the villages Sporadushino and Kozinka in Russia’s Belgorod Oblast.
  • There was a helicopter landing near the village Kozinka. Two Mi-8-loads of raider infantry entered the village but after firing left.
  • As of Friday, the raiders were still at large and combat was taking place outside Sporadushino and Kozinka.
  • Raider-operated tanks and armored personnel carriers were spotted around Sporadushino and Kozinka.
  • Either the raiders or their Ukrainian supporters launched explosive drones and rocket artillery at the regional administrative center Belgorod.
  • Russian authorities evacuated three regions adjacent to the fighting.
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