Russian Volunteer Corps and Freedom of Russia Legion announce second raid phase. Belgorod authorities react
On the morning of June 1, the Russian Volunteer Corps and the Freedom of Russia Legion published a video and stated the second phase of raids on their homeland.
This was reported by the press services of the divisions.
"We are the Freedom of Russia Legion, currently stationed on the border of our homeland. Our mission is to bring freedom, peace, and tranquility to the Russian Federation. Grayvoron marks only the beginning of our campaign. Despite Putin's cowardly military actions, we have achieved significant victories," stated a spokesperson in a video.
The Legion announced that they will now be able to provide arms to more comrades and allies.
"Our goal is to liberate the entirety of Russia, from Belgorod to Vladivostok, and raise the white and blue flag of freedom in Moscow," they emphasized.
Meanwhile, the Russian Volunteer Corps initiated the anticipated second phase of their operation.
"Dear friends, fellow fighters of the Russian Volunteer Corps, we are once again fighting on Russian Federation soil. Soon, we will reach the outskirts of Shebekino," they declared.
The volunteers acknowledged that they cannot evacuate civilians from border settlements due to the Russian army's shelling. They reassured the public, stating, "Stay at home, do not worry, the Russian Volunteer Corps is not fighting against civilians."
Explosions could be heard in the background of the video.
The legion reported that their tank with the flag of "Freedom of Russia" is located in the village of Nova Tavolzhanka near Shebekino.
"Good morning from our homeland! We continue to fight," the press service wrote on June 2.
Earlier, the Freedom of Russia Legion and the Russian Volunteer Corps showcased their operations, demonstrating the destruction of Russian equipment in the village of Nova Tavolzhanka.
Information has surfaced on the Russian Volunteer Corps's page regarding the announcement of the "Fortress" plan by the Shebekino police department.
"The ‘noble’ defenders of Putin's pack, following the protocol, gathered in the police building. We allowed them to gather and 'covered' them with Grad. The outcome is already evident. We express our gratitude to the local population for providing vital and timely information," the statement reads.
Russian media reported that the Belgorod operational headquarters denied the alleged breakthrough by the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Shebekino area, confirming ongoing shelling and sounds of battle.
Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of Russia's Belgorod region, confirmed "continuous shelling from the Armed Forces of Ukraine" in the Shebekino district, adding, "There was and is no enemy in the Belgorod region. Our armed forces, border guards, the federal security service, and the Rosgvardiya are in place. However, the shelling is intense."
Reportedly, eight individuals sustained injuries as a result of the shelling.
Gladkov announced the evacuation of residents, but explained that it is not possible while the shelling persists. He stated, "We must wait until the explosions end, until the risk of being injured or killed by the shells of the Armed Forces is reduced."
He claimed that, "If urgent evacuation becomes necessary, we will provide protected vehicles to transport you safely from your homes."
Information on the first raid
On May 22, the Freedom of Russia Legion and the Russian Volunteer Corps declared the liberation of Kozinka and Gora-Podol settlements in the Belgorod region of the Russian Federation as part of the establishment of a demilitarized zone on the border. Advanced units also entered Grayvoron. A counter-terrorist operation regime was implemented, and the evacuation of nuclear ammunition began.
In the late evening of May 22, Russian media reported attacks on administrative buildings in Belgorod, including those of the FSB and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Drone strikes on administrative buildings in Grayvoron and Borisovka were also reported.
Russian authorities' response to the first raid
At 6:04 p.m. on May 22, Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of the Belgorod region, announced the counter-terrorist operation regime to ensure citizen safety. Document checks of individuals in the Belgorod region were conducted, and the operations of hazardous industries and enterprises dealing with explosive, radioactive, chemical, and biological substances were suspended.
According to earlier reports from Russian media, the deputy of the Grayvoron city administration was injured during the shelling of the administration building. Two Ministry of Emergency Situations employees were also reportedly injured.
Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov stated that as of 8:00 p.m., eight people were wounded in the Grayvoron district, with no civilian casualties. He also mentioned three damaged private houses, three houses hit by projectiles, and a kindergarten in the village of Zamostye that was struck by a projectile.
Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary of the Russian President, stated at approximately 3:30 p.m. on May 22 that Vladimir Putin had been informed about the alleged attempt by Ukrainian saboteurs to infiltrate the Belgorod region.
Earlier, at 2:10 p.m., Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov mentioned that a sabotage and intelligence group from the Armed Forces of Ukraine had entered the Grayvoron district. At 11:38 a.m., he stated that the region had been under fire from the Ukrainian Armed Forces since the morning of May 22. Gladkov reported that the Grayvoron city district came under fire from the Ukrainian Armed Forces at 9:00 a.m. He mentioned that there were no casualties and that the air defense system was operational. A portion of a rocket reportedly fell in the garden of a private residential house in the village of Antonovka.
Gladkov also reported mortar fire in the village of Kozinka and a hay storage catching fire in the village of Gora-Podol. Shells hit the premises of a motor vehicle enterprise in Grayvoron, and a fence of a private residential house was damaged in the village of Zamostye.
Later, Gladkov claimed that an explosive device was allegedly dropped from a drone near a private residential building in Novaya Tavolzhanka. The drone itself apparently fell 100 meters away from residential buildings.
In a video message, Gladkov mentioned a "massive information attack" against the region aimed at creating panic among the population. He reiterated that there were no casualties resulting from the shelling and dismissed evacuation calls circulating on social media as false information.
The activities of the Freedom of Russia Legion and Russian Volunteer Corps
The Freedom of Russia Legion is a Russian military unit under the Armed Forces of Ukraine established in March 2022 during the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation. It has been reported that cells of this legion have emerged within Russia's territory as of May 1, 2022.
The Russian Volunteer Corps is another volunteer formation fighting alongside Ukraine. On March 29, they released a video denying any involvement of the Ukrainian side in an operation that occurred in the Bryansk region on March 2, 2023. They confirmed their own participation in the operation through a video report.
On April 6, the Russian Volunteer Corps announced that it had once again entered Russian territory, specifically the Bryansk region, from Ukraine and returned without any casualties. Additionally, the volunteer group stated in a comment to Polygon Media that they had completed their "propaganda tasks" by engaging with the local population and distributing leaflets.