Russia didn’t respond to Belgorod Oblast incursion because its special forces were killed in Ukraine — expert

24 May, 07:15 PM
A member of the Russian Volunteer Corps at the Kozinka checkpoint on the Russian-Ukrainian border, a frame from a video released on May 23, 2023 (Photo:Russian Volunteer Corps/Handout via REUTERS)

A member of the Russian Volunteer Corps at the Kozinka checkpoint on the Russian-Ukrainian border, a frame from a video released on May 23, 2023 (Photo:Russian Volunteer Corps/Handout via REUTERS)

Why were the anti-Kremlin Russian volunteers who infilitrated Russia’s Belgorod Oblast from Ukraine not stopped within hours?

Political analyst Ivan Preobrazhensky explained in an interview with Radio NV on May 23.

Russia does not have enough special forces to send them to Belgorod Oblast, as "all these units were destroyed at the beginning of the full-scale aggression on Ukrainian territory," he explained.

"Earlier, before the full-scale aggression, we could definitely say that in a similar situation, they would have very quickly deployed special forces units from the neighboring region," he added.

Video of day

"These would have been either SWAT teams, i.e., the former OMON, or the FSB. In any case, Belgorod Oblast is not far from Moscow. Generally, this would have been resolved within a few hours, and the units involved would have quickly cleaned up everything professionally."

Over the past decade, Russia claimed to create large mobile groups that can be quickly deployed from one region of Russia to another, as needed.

"In the end, it turned out that all this time, they had been preparing for a completely different war — for full-scale aggression against Ukraine, for a big war with large units," Preobrazhensky said.

"The few special forces units that they used to have, they no longer do. They were destroyed at the beginning of the war … They destroyed, in fact, all their best units themselves."

NV reported on May 22 that anti-Kremlin Russian volunteers managed to cross the Russian border again. They had reportedly entered several settlements in Bryansk, Belgorod, and Kursk oblasts.

The Defense Intelligence of Ukraine (HUR) said that the territories near Belgorod are being liberated from the Putin regime and the constitutional order is being restored there. HUR representative Andriy Yusov emphasized that the raid in the Russian region is being carried out exclusively by members of the Freedom of Russia Legion and the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK), who are Russian citizens.

Deputy Defense Minister of Ukraine Hanna Malyar called the events a "predictable internal crisis." Local authorities declared a "counterterrorist operation" and, according to the governor, most Graivoronsky district residents were evacuated.

Among Kremlin representatives, only Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov reacted to the events.

Russian propagandists spread his statement that "Putin has been informed" of an "attempted breakthrough by saboteurs" whom the Russians are trying to pass off as "Ukrainians." According to Peskov, "work is underway to squeeze out the saboteurs and destroy the sabotage group" that is allegedly trying to "divert attention from the Bakhmut area."

Belgorod Oblast authorities on May 23 said that a "clean-up" operation was ongoing. At the same time, the Russian Volunteer Corps stated that the war would continue until the hanging body of dictator Vladimir Putin adorned the walls of the Kremlin.

On the same day, the "counterterrorist operation regime" in Russia was cancelled. The Russians claim to have killed 70 participants in the sabotage, while the rest were "pushed back" to the territory of Ukraine. RDK and Legion fighters insist they are continuing to fight on Russian territory, having already crushed a motorized rifle company of the Russian army and destroyed several pieces of the enemy equipment.

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