Russian volunteer units fighting with Ukraine claim to have crossed Russian border

Three units of Russian volunteer troops fighting for Ukraine claimed to have crossed over the border into Russia’s Belgorod and Kursk regions on Tuesday morning.


The Freedom of Russia legion claims to have captured the village of Tyotkino in the Kursk region.

“Putin’s army is fleeing the settlement, leaving its positions and abandoning heavy equipment,” the legion wrote on Telegram.

The Freedom of Russia Legion, a paramilitary unit of Russian volunteers fighting alongside the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) that carried out a series of incursions into Russia’s Belgorod region last year, posted videos of what it said were its troops crossing into Russia in tanks and destroying a Russian armoured personnel carrier in the Belgorod region village of Tyotkino.

The Siberian Battalion, an AFU unit primarily made up of non-ethnic Russian volunteers from Russia’s national republics in Siberia, also said that it was “finally home” to bring “freedom and justice” to Russia in a Telegram post on Tuesday morning. Russia’s “criminal dictatorial regime” could only be overthrown “with weapons in hand”, it continued, adding that “fierce battles” were taking place on Russian territory.

A later video posted by the Siberian Battalion showed a Russian-speaking soldier in uniform with Ukrainian insignia, who called on Russians to boycott the country’s presidential elections this weekend and join the battalion.

Another volunteer unit, the Russian Volunteer Corps, also posted videos of what it said were its troops engaging in combat on the Russia-Ukraine border.

The posts came following widespread reports early on Tuesday morning by Russian pro-war Telegram channels that Ukrainian tanks had attempted to cross into the Belgorod and Kursk regions.

Ukraine’s Intelligence Directorate spokesperson Andriy Yusov said the alleged incursion was likely to have been the initiative of the Russian volunteer units themselves, emphasising that they operated “autonomously and independently” from the AFU.

Kursk Governor Roman Starovoyt later posted a video on Telegram in which he said that an unsuccessful “attempt by a sabotage and reconnaissance group” to cross into the region had led to an exchange of fire.

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