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Anti-Putin force leader says he expects more border raids

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The commander of the Russian fighters, who launched a raid on Russia’s border region this week, said his group would soon make more incursions into Russian territory from Ukraine.

Denis Kapustin, who describes himself as the commander of the Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC), spoke to reporters on Wednesday from the Ukrainian side of the border with Russia a day after Moscow said it had repulsed an offensive in Russia’s Belgorod region that continued. Almost 24 years old. hours.

“I think you’ll see us on this side again,” said Kapustin, a known far-right Russian nationalist who introduced himself to reporters with his call sign White Rex.

“The operation is continuing,” said Kapustin, who was born in Moscow and was surrounded by about 30 fighters in camouflage fatigues.

And he said: “Every operation that takes place on the territory of Russia forces the military leadership to transfer a large number of forces specifically to this region, thereby exposing certain parts of the front, parts of the borders.”

“Our plans for the future are new regions of the Russian Federation, which we will definitely enter … You have to be patient a little and wait a few days. »

Two armed groups operating in Ukraine—the RVC Kapustin Army and the allied Russian Freedom Corps—claimed responsibility for the incursion on Monday and Tuesday.

Kiev said it did not participate in the attack, noting that it was carried out by Russian anti-Putin forces against the Russian army.

Kapustin described his mission as fighting “injustice” and “torture” under Russian President Vladimir Putin, which were meant to get other Russians to act.

“I want to prove it to them [Russians] That you can fight tyrants and Putin’s power is not absolute.

Kapustin added that the Ukrainian authorities “encouraged us” but did not provide weapons, equipment or instructions for this mission.

Belgorod region governor Vyacheslav Gladkov reported that two women were killed and at least 12 people were wounded in the cross-border attack.

On Thursday, local Russian media also reported that about 500 homes were destroyed in the attack, including 200 homes. Media reported that residents who fled their homes in Belgorod have not yet returned to some areas as the authorities are working to locate and manufacture the remaining mines in the streets and buildings of Grivoron Regional District.

The Russian military said it defeated the attackers with artillery and airstrikes, killing more than 70 of what it described as “Ukrainian nationalists” in a sabotage mission aimed at distracting Russia in the bombed city of Bakhmut.

Kapustin said the total number of dead and wounded was two.

Naturally, the Ukrainian army took our wounded. But anything more than that will make it difficult,” he said, referring to Ukraine’s involvement in its operations.

“Every decision we make… beyond state borders is our own. Of course we can ask.” [Ukrainian] Classmates and friends to help them plan.

Described by the US-based Anti-Defamation League as “Russian neo-Nazis,” Kapustin’s daring cross-border raid embarrassed the Kremlin, but also raised questions about the involvement of far-right Russian nationalists in Ukraine and how it might affect the country. . . The readiness of the Western allies to supply weapons to Kiev.

Kapustin admitted that his group is right-wing. He was also asked if he would accept being called a Nazi.

“I have my own set of views, it’s a national set of points of view, it’s a traditional set of points of view, it’s a right-wing set of points of view. You know, you’ll never find me waving a flag with a swastika on it and you’ll never see me raise my hand with the Hitler sign. Why do you call me that?”

When asked repeatedly about media reports that his fighters used US military equipment in the raid on Russian soil — equipment provided to enable Ukraine to defend itself against a Russian invasion — Kapustin refused to answer directly.

“I know exactly where you got my rifles from. Unfortunately, there are no Western partners. He noted that Russia captured Western military equipment during the Battle of Bakhmut and that this equipment can be purchased on the black market.

I think I made it clear that Western military aid unfortunately goes back and forth, being raided. In Bakhmut for example, I know that many American armored vehicles and armored vehicles were attacked by Russian forces.

On Wednesday, US officials said they were reviewing reports of the use of US vehicles on Russian soil.

The Kremlin said the use of US military hardware in the cross-border attack showed the West’s growing involvement in the war.

Members of the Russian Volunteer Corps with an armored fighting vehicle near the Russian border in Ukraine on May 24, 2023 [Viacheslav Ratynskyi/Reuters]

It’s no secret that this equipment is used against our army. It is no secret that the direct and indirect interference of Western countries in this conflict is increasing day by day. “We are reaching appropriate conclusions,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu promised on Wednesday that Moscow would respond “very harshly” to any new cross-border raids.

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