May 22 (UPI) — An organization of Russian rebels is claiming responsibility for attacks in the Russian region of Belgorod on Monday.
Belgorod Gov. Vyacheslav Gladkov said the “saboteurs” crossed into Russia from Ukraine. They allegedly injured several people and damaged three homes in clashes inside the region.
Ukraine denied any involvement with the fighting, while an organization called the “Freedom of Russia Legion” posted a video on Telegram, saying it is fighting against the regime of President Vladimir Putin.
According to a report by the BBC, Putin has been briefed on these developments.
“The time has come to put an end to the Kremlin dictatorship,” said an apparent soldier in the video. “Be brave and have no fear because we are coming home. Russia will be free.”
The group claims it has liberated the Belgorod town Kozinka and is advancing to Grayvoron, a small town about six miles to the northeast.
Ukraine’s Center for Strategic Communication tweeted that it supports the operation by the Freedom of Russia Legion, which has been joined by the Russian Volunteer Corps on its way to Grayvoron.
“Ukraine welcomes the resolute actions of the opposition against the criminal and aggressive Putin regime,” the center tweeted. “After the victory of Ukraine, the ‘security zone’ will be one of the key issues during the negotiations on the future coexistence with Russia. Ukraine will demand the creation of a demilitarized security zone in the Russian regions bordering our state.”
Gladkov said he has launched a “counter-terrorist” operation and surveillance in Belgorod. According to Russian state news agency TASS, Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson for Putin, said efforts are being taken to “drive the Ukrainian saboteurs out of Russian territory and destroy them.”