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Russians Warned to Flee Border Cities While They Still Can

Reuters/Stringer
Reuters/Stringer

Anti-Kremlin Russian fighters have begun urging their fellow citizens to abandon their homes in the Belgorod and Kursk regions as part of a militant campaign aimed at ending the war in Ukraine.

The group, made up of three different battalions known as the Freedom of Russia Legion, the Russian Volunteer Corps, and the Siberian Battalion, issued a statement Wednesday warning that it would be attacking shortly, urging Russians to evacuate.

“Putin’s killers are carrying out massive attacks on peaceful Ukrainian cities, setting up their positions between your homes, your children’s schools and government institutions. Every day, dozens of ordinary innocent people (mostly women and children) die from shelling from Belgorod,” the statement said. “In this regard, we are forced to inflict fire on military positions located in the cities of Belgorod and Kursk.”

“The shelling of Ukraine from the territory of Belgorod must stop,” the groups added.

The warning comes after the group vowed to take matters into their own hands in trying to combat Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The pro-Ukraine Russian groups, which Kyiv said are not operating on orders from the Ukrainian government, earlier claimed to have taken over the Kursk village of Tyotkino and reportedly targeted three different locations in Belgorod.

Anti-Kremlin Militants With Tanks Fight Russia in Border Region

Moscow has claimed that it successfully fought off the militant groups. Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the incursions in an interview with Russian propagandist Dmitry Kiselyov, accusing Ukraine of directing the attacks as part of an effort to achieve any wins against Russia.

“All this is happening against the backdrop of failures on the line of contact, on the front line. They did not achieve any of the goals they set for themselves last year,” Putin said. “Against the backdrop of those failures, they need to show at least something.”

Putin added that he suspected the attacks were aimed at disrupting the upcoming presidential elections later this month.

“I have no doubt that the main goal is, if not to disrupt the presidential election in Russia, then to somehow interfere with the normal process,” he said.

The attacks in Belgorod and Kursk are ongoing. On Wednesday, residents in Kursk were warned of an impending drone attack, Governor Roman Starovoyt said on social media, adding that the village of Tyotkino was also under attack. In Belgorod, a drone struck a regional FSB Directorate building and a house, blowing out its windows upon impact. Another drone damaged a private house in the village of Grafovka before being shot down by air defenses.

Local authorities have been advising residents not to go near their windows, warning that a missile could be incoming, according to TASS.

Moscow has once again blamed the operations on Ukraine, calling it an “attempt by the Kyiv regime to carry out a terrorist attack.”

The three pro-Kyiv Russian groups shared a video on social media that they claimed showed militants facing off with Russian forces.

“We beat them up,” the social media post accompanying the video on Telegram states. It’s not clear where the video was filmed.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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