Today, at around 11:30 AM Moscow time, governor of Russia’s Bryansk region Alexander Bogomaz said that the territory of the village Liubechane in the Bryansk region had been breached by a Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance group.
According to him, the “saboteurs” opened fire on a moving vehicle, killing a civilian and injuring a boy born in 2012.
Later on, Bogomaz issued a statement, clarifying that the number of killed civilians rose to two — another civilian man born in 1966 was killed.
Soon after that, Russian Telegram channels started reporting the rising number of victims. Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) stated that they were “conducting activities aimed at eliminating armed Ukrainian nationalists who violated the state border”.
Furthermore, the Russian Volunteer Corps claimed responsibility for the events. Vladimir Putin referred to the events as a “terrorist attack”. Novaya-Europe has looked into the situation to make sense of what happened.
Several Telegram channels, in particular SHOT, reported at first that the sabotage group had attacked a “school bus”, but soon it turned out that it had been a passenger car used to drive children to their lessons.
“A passing car drove three students away from the saboteurs, including the injured boy. He was shot in the back,” SHOT reported.
The Telegram channel also wrote about two victims, the driver and a kid, but local authorities have only confirmed the death of the driver. “The driver of the vehicle was killed, a boy born in 2012 was injured. As of now, the child has been brought to the Bryansk regional hospital, his life is not in danger,” Bogomaz wrote two hours after his first post.
Acting deputy governor of the Bryansk region then denied the information about a school bus having been shelled to Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti. According to her, all the schools in the region are operating remotely. However, this article no longer exists on the agency’s website, while the link used by other media to quote RIA Novosti now leads to another article, unrelated to the Bryansk region.
After the first reports on “Ukrainian saboteurs”, Russia’s state news agency TASS reported, citing a law enforcement source, that the sabotage and reconnaissance group had entered two villages, Liubichane and Sushany, and taken several residents hostage. “National Guard fighters have engaged in a clash with militants,” the source added.
At 14:30 PM Moscow time, TASS reported, citing witnesses, that “Ukrainian saboteurs are not showing signs of activity” and could have left Russian territory.
“No one from the Ukrainian group is still present on Russian territory, they have all gone. Right now, a search is ongoing, it’s possible that there are some renaming Ukraine’s Armed Forces fighters on our territory,” one of the sources told TASS.
In the evening, the FSB stated that the situation in the Bryansk region was “under control of the law enforcement agencies”. It was also reported that a big number of explosive devices was discovered.
Later, the FSB reported that the “foray of Ukrainian nationalists” into the Klimovsky district of the Bryansk region had been “stopped”. “The enemy has been forced out to the territory of Ukraine where it was subjected to a massive artillery strike,” the FSB claimed.
Who claimed responsibility?
The Russian Volunteer Corps, a division of Russian military volunteers fighting on the side of Ukraine, stated that its fighters were the ones who breached the territory of the Bryansk region. The Telegram channel of the corps posted a video of two men wearing uniforms and holding the flag of the corps in front of a sign saying “Liubechane medical post”.
“The Russian Volunteer Corps came to the Bryansk region to show our compatriots that there’s hope, that free Russian people carrying arms can fight the regime,” the message reads.
One of the corps fighters confirmed to media outlet IStories that the Russian Volunteer Corps had entered the territory of the Bryansk region.
“I’ve just got back from there. There were 45 of us on this mission. We came, filmed, created an ambush for two infantry fighting vehicles. I did not see any hurt children. But there was one injured border guard. We did not take anyone hostage,” he told IStories on condition of anonymity.
The Russian Volunteer Corps were founded by neo-Nazi Denis Kapustin, who currently goes by the last name Nikitin. Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia Interior Ministry referred to him as “one of the most influential” neo-Nazi activists in Germany and noted that he had professionalised the subculture of ultra-right fights in the country.
According to Germany’s Migration Service, Kapustin moved from Moscow to Germany as a child together with his family; he received a permanent residence permit as a “refugee of Jewish origin”.
In October 2018, he was detained by Ukrainian secret services. According to Der Spiegel, Kapustin was suspected of producing amphetamine.
In Germany, Kapustin was at first active among the circles of football fans in Cologne; later on, he established contact with Russian neo-Nazis, Maxim “Tesak” Martsinkevich among them. Germany’s secret services speculated that Kapustin’s activities could have been financed by Russian authorities.
The Kremlin stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin was aware of the situation in the Bryansk region. According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Putin “constantly receives reports from law enforcement agencies”.
Putin was supposed to go on a work trip to the city of Pyatigorsk today, but due to the situation in the Bryansk region, the trip was cancelled.
Later in the day, Putin himself referred to the events that transpired in the Bryansk region as a “terrorist attack”. According to him, the “terrorists” entered the border territory and opened fire on civilians.
“They saw that it was a civilian car. They saw that civilians and children were inside. They opened fire on them. These are exactly the people who see their goal in depriving us of our historical memory, our history, our traditions and language,” Putin said during a video conference with Pyatigorsk.
Kyiv called the “Ukrainian saboteurs” story a provocation.
The FSB states that the situation in the Bryansk region is “under control of the law enforcement agencies”, Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti reports.
According to the FSB, a local resident was killed while an 11-year-old was injured. It is also reported that a big number of explosive devices was discovered.
What else is happening
Aside from “Ukrainian sabotages”, the Bryansk region governor also said that Ukraine’s Armed Forces had launched a drone in the direction of the region earlier in the day. He claims that the drone caused a residential house fire in the Sushany village.
Bogomaz added that the Lomakovka village had been subjected to mortar shelling. No one was hurt in the attack; two houses were damaged.
Furthermore, the Kursk region was also attacked today. Regional governor Roman Starovoyt said that a local resident had been killed in shelling in the Kursk region village of Tetkino.
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