Ukraine War Expanding Into Russia; Cross Border Clashes Intensify (Worthy News In-Depth)
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
KYIV/MOSCOW/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Ukraine’s war rapidly escalated and expanded into neighboring Russia on Monday as Kyiv and Moscow confirmed cross-border clashes which injured and perhaps killed several people.
The Freedom of Russia Legion, an anti-Kremlin militia seeking to “liberate Russia” from President Vladimir Putin, claimed to have crossed into Russian territory.
It said it managed to overrun the settlement of Kozinka while sending units into the town of Grayvoron in Russia’s Belgorod region.
Footage of the raid, purportedly from a border checkpoint in Grayvoron, showed casualties.
A video released on social media showed a Russian officer lying facedown in a pool of blood next to Russian passports and other documents scattered on the floor.
The footage also revealed armored vehicles appearing to overrun the post.
Another anti-Kremlin group, the Russian Volunteer Corps, led by a prominent Russian nationalist, said it also participated in the raid.
Late on Monday, the group released video footage showing what it claimed was a fighter inspecting a captured armored vehicle.
Russian officials said several people had been injured after Kyiv-backed forces entered Russia’s Belgorod region. Kyiv denied direct responsibility.
While isolated strikes on Russian territory have happened before, Monday’s fighting appeared worse than ever since Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year.
Local governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said Russian forces were searching for “saboteurs” who had entered Belgorod’s Grayvoronsky district from Ukraine.
He added that at least eight people were wounded, and most residents had left the area, but the situation remained “tense.”
Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson said the Russian president had been informed about the latest fighting inside Russia.
Monday’s fighting marked another chapter in the nearly 15-month war. It came as the West was sending more military aid to Ukraine, ranging from armored vehicles and ammunition to even fighter jets.
The battles underscored international concerns that the war might be difficult to contain within Ukraine’s borders. Russia’s ambassador to the United States already warned Washington a strike on the Crimea Peninsula, occupied by Moscow’s forces, “could be considered a strike on Russian territory” by the NATO military alliance.
In published remarks, Anatoly Antonov wrote: “I would like to warn representatives of the administration against thoughtless judgments on Crimea, especially in terms of ‘blessing’ the Kyiv regime for air attacks on the peninsula. Let me remind you that strikes on this territory are considered by us as an attack on any other region of the Russian Federation. It is important that the United States is fully aware of the Russian response.”
Russian President Putin had earlier suggested that his nation could use nuclear weapons if its territorial integrity was violated.
As tensions mounted on Monday, a dozen northern European countries rushed to meet to discuss ways to shore up defenses on the eastern flank of the Western NATO military alliance.
Defense ministers from the so-called Northern Group met in Poland on Monday, where talks described as “very good” by the Polish defense minister were focused on coordinating security to countries in the region.
They also met after U.S. President Joe Biden said he would support training for Ukrainian pilots on U.S. F-16 fighter jets and that allies could deliver them to Ukraine.
Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer reaffirmed their support for Ukraine in Britain’s parliament. The Labour leader said Labour “[welcomes] the decision by our partners on F-16 fighter jets.”
In a clear message to Moscow, he said, “Whichever party is in power in the U.K., there will be no letup in Britain’s resolve.
We will continue to support Ukraine’s military and its people in its quest for freedom, peace, and justice.”
While Russia faced clashes, the war continued in Ukraine, where authorities said at least eight people were wounded and scores of buildings damaged in a Russian air attack on the Dnipropetrovsk region.
Ukraine’s air force said, “The attack was carried out by 16 different types of missiles and 20 Shahed-136/131 strike drones,” adding that air defenses brought down a shopping 20 Russian drones and four cruise missiles.”
With Russia’s military under pressure, the U.S. State Department on Monday said Russia’s Wagner Group of mercenaries tries to ship weapons to its fighters in Ukraine through the West African nation of Mali.
“We have been informed that Wagner is seeking to transit materiel acquisitions to aid Russia’s war through Mali and is willing to use false paperwork for these transactions,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.
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