May 23, 2024
  • Paramilitary groups comprising Russian defectors attacked their own country on Tuesday.

  • One group, the Freedom of Russia Legion said they were there to liberate their countrymen.

  • A spokesperson for Ukraine’s military intelligence said the groups were acting independently.

Armed groups of Russian defectors attacked their homeland on Tuesday ahead of the upcoming Russian presidential elections.

On Tuesday morning, paramilitary groups including the Freedom of Russia Legion and the Siberian Battalion said they were launching a joint attack across Russia’s borders, per The Telegraph. Russia’s presidential elections are set to be held on March 15 to 17, with incumbent Russian leader Vladimir Putin all but certain to secure his reelection.

“We are not coming to kill, erase, or punish,” the Freedom of Russia Legion said in a video statement, per the Kyiv Post.

“We come to live, to liberate you from poverty, from the dictatorship of a terrorist organization that seized power, to give your children a normal civilized future — without sanctions, without repression, without elections without choice,” the video statement continued.

A spokesperson for Ukraine’s military intelligence, Andriy Yusov told Ukraine’s Channel 24 that a third group, the Russian Volunteer Corps also took part in the attacks. Yusov said the attacks weren’t directed by Ukraine.

“On the territory of the Russian Federation, they act absolutely autonomously, on their own, and pursue their social and political program tasks,” Yusov said.

Russia’s defense ministry said on Tuesday that they had responded to three different attacks in Belgorod, per state-owned media outlet TASS. The ministry told TASS that Russian forces managed to repel the attackers, who were equipped with tanks and armored vehicles.

This isn’t the first time that Russian defectors have mounted an attack against their homeland.

In December, the Freedom of Russia legion claimed responsibility for an attack near Terebreno village, in Belgorod. The group claimed that it had destroyed a Russian troop stronghold and left landmines in the area during their assault, per Reuters.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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