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Russia wants to destroy “terrorists”.

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The Russian military says it has “destroyed” militants who entered the Belgorod border region with a massive military operation.

A crater after an explosion in the western Russian city of Belgorod. Pavel Kolyadin/Tass/imago

With a massive military operation, the Russian military has, according to its own reports, halted its most serious attack to date by militants invading its home territory from Ukraine.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that “nationalist” groups that infiltrated the border area were “deterred and destroyed” by “anti-terrorist operations” with airstrikes and artillery strikes. The rest of the “nationalists” were pushed back to the “territory of Ukraine”, where the Russian army’s “devastating attacks” continued until the militants were “completely destroyed”. Accordingly, the Russian army killed more than 70 “Ukrainian terrorists”. The information could not be independently verified at first.

As usual, the Defense Ministry did not provide any information on casualties or damage on the Russian side. According to Belgorod Governor Vyacheslav Klatkov, there were “abundant” artillery, multiple rocket launcher and drone attacks by infiltrators against several locations in the region. Accordingly, nine towns were evacuated and 12 civilians were injured.

Fighting at Belgorod: Kiev refuses to take action

Fighting broke out on Monday in the Gravoron district on the border with Ukraine. According to Kladko, an “espionage and sabotage group” entered the area. Two volunteer militias, made up of Russian citizens fighting on Kiev’s side in the war in Ukraine, claimed responsibility for the attack. Ukrainian intelligence spokesman Andrei Yuzov told the Suspilne newspaper on Monday that the Free Legion for Russia and the Russian Volunteer Forces had begun “the task of creating a security zone to protect Ukrainian citizens.” Its purpose is to prevent continued shelling of Ukrainian territory. Kiev denied any involvement in the operation.

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Kremlin spokesman Peskov: “Military special operation” continues

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters the attacks were “extremely worrying” as “Ukrainian militants” continued their “actions against our country”. On the other hand, Kiev talks about an “internal crisis in Russia”. “There are many Russians by descent in Ukraine, but these are Ukrainian fighters,” Peskov said. On the other hand, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malzar said the attackers were “Russian patriots”.

Peskov said Russia’s “greater efforts” are now needed. These efforts are currently underway and a “military special operation” is ongoing to prevent a repeat of such an incident. The Kremlin uses the phrase “military special operation” to describe the attack in Ukraine.

The attack caused “deep concern,” Peskov said. But President Vladimir Putin will not convene a special meeting of the National Security Council because of the incident. Peskov did not want to give information on the number of attackers. It will be a question for security agencies at the right time, he said.

Putin has yet to comment on the attack in Belgorod

According to Peskov, Putin was informed about Monday’s attack in Belgorod. The Russian president has not yet commented on the matter personally, but spoke generally about the situation in the Ukraine conflict at a ceremony in the Kremlin on Tuesday. “Yes, Russia is facing difficult times, but today is a special moment for our national unity,” Putin said. He also reiterated his statement that Moscow was protecting the Russian people in Donbass, Ukraine.

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Russia launched its war of aggression against Ukraine 15 months ago and has continued to shell cities and infrastructure in the neighboring country. Meanwhile, however, Russian border areas are also complaining of increasing shelling from the Ukrainian side. The Belgorod incident was the deadliest attack on Russian territory to date.

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