Russian state media is citing the governor of Russia’s Belgorod Region, Viacheslav Gladkov, to report that there's been another cross-border raid into Russian territory from Ukraine, which marks the third such incursion within two weeks.
The governor of the border region oblast which has also for months been subject to sporadic shelling from Ukrainian forces said that Russia's military and the FSB security services are engaging the "saboteurs" and that fighting is ongoing, though few details have been given.
Russia's RT is describing, "In a video address, Gladkov responded to Denis Nikitin, the leader of the Russian Volunteer Corps, a neo-Nazi group of Russian nationals fighting on Kiev's side."
"In his video, the governor stated that a battle with the corps detachment was currently raging in Belgorod Region, and that he hoped that all members of the group would be killed," the report says.
Belgorod's Gladkov was quoted as saying--
"I saw the appeal of scoundrels, bastards, murderers and fascists who allegedly want to meet with me, offering a conversation in exchange for prisoners. In fact, a group of saboteurs went in, there is a battle in Novaya Tavolzhanka. I hope that they will all be destroyed, it cannot be otherwise. Every day civilians die at the hands of these fascists, we bury them every day. Crippled children and dead old people – that's their handiwork," he said.
Earlier in the weekend he said that seven civilians have died over the past week due to shelling from Ukraine.
⚡️Heavy fighting taking place between FSB and RDK unit of the AFU in Novaya Tavolzhanka pic.twitter.com/15JNXZT9gi— War Monitor (@WarMonitors) June 4, 2023
The New York Times wrote on Saturday that "Shebekino, a town of 40,000 six miles from the border, has effectively become a new part of the front line as Ukraine has intensified attacks inside Russia, including on residential areas near its own borders."
This is all upending the lives of residents in the border region, akin to what already happened long ago on the Ukrainian side of the border. "The spate of assaults, most recently by militia groups aligned against Moscow, has sparked the largest military evacuation effort in Russia in decades," the report underscored. The past days have witnessed area residents move into temporary shelters, including the large Belgorod arena in the oblast capital.
The Ukrainian-backed Russian Freedom Legion has just posted this video of what it says are its troops advancing in the outskirts of the Russian city of Shebekino. @GeoConfirmed pic.twitter.com/0agH6BiG2f— Yaroslav Trofimov (@yarotrof) June 4, 2023
Currently it appears the militia groups which have crossed the Russian border on Sunday are holding ground and seeking to advance, at least temporarily. During the first major assault of two weeks ago Russia sent in major military assets such as helicopters to put down the incursion. Wagner Group has since offered to send its fighters to protect the border.
Chief Foreign-Affairs Correspondent of The Wall Street Journal, Yaroslav Trofimov, has written in an update posted to Twitter that "Ukrainian-backed Russian fighters remain in the Russian town of Novaya Tavolzhanka and have taken POWs. The psychological impact of that is hard to overestimate.
Trofimov wrote further "The governor has offered to meet them to take back the POWs, Prigozhin has also offered to send an aide."