The attack on the Bryansk region of Russia, which killed two civilians and injured two, was agreed upon with Ukrainian authorities, neo-Nazi Denis Kapustin, founder of the Russian Volunteer Corps, says in an interview with Financial Times.
“How do you imagine that I passed through the dark of night there? There are mined bridges, there are cameras, heat-seeking drones, there are hidden open observation points. If I did not coordinate it with anyone [in Ukraine’s military] … I think we would simply be destroyed,” he said.
The neo-Nazi also confirmed that a shootout had taken place in one of the two villages raided by members of the corps, however, he said that he was not aware of any victims.
Kapustin affirmed that the goal of the operation was to “remind Russians that you don’t have to live in shackles, put up with and participate in someone else’s war carrying out someone else’s will”.
On 2 March, the Bryansk region governor said that a Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance group had breached the territory of the region, entering the villages of Liubechane and Sashiny. Two civilians were killed and two were injured in the attack. A boy born in 2012 was among the injured.
The neo-Nazi movement Russian Volunteer Corps, a unit of Russian military volunteers fighting for Ukraine, claimed the responsibility for the attack.
Kyiv called the “Ukrainian saboteurs” story a provocation. “Russia wants to scare its people to justify the attack on another country & the growing poverty after the year of war. The partisan movement in Russia is getting stronger & more aggressive. Fear your partisans…”, Adviser to the Head of the Office of President of Ukraine Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted on 2 March.
The Russian Volunteer Corps was founded in August 2022. Its founder is Denis Kapustin, who lived in Germany from 2001. He is also the founder of clothing brand Whiterez, popular among Russian neo-Nazis.
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 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.
In October 2018, he was detained by Ukrainian secret services. According to Der Spiegel, Kapustin was suspected of producing amphetamine.