The leader of the Russian Volunteer Corps says the group’s plans include more incursions into Russia, adding: “You should be just a little bit patient and wait a couple of days.”
A group claiming to be behind a recent strike in the Russian border region of Belgorod have said they will launch more incursions in future.
Denis Kapustin (also known as Denis Nikitin), the commander of the Russian Volunteer Corps, was speaking on the Ukrainian side of the border with Russia a day after his group claimed to have been behind an armed raid on the Belgorod area.
He said: “I think you will see us again on that side.
“I cannot reveal those upcoming things, I cannot even reveal the direction.
“The… border is pretty long, yet again there will be a spot where things will get hot.”
He said his anti-Putin fighters had held “around 42 square kilometres” of Russian territory “for quite a while”, adding: “We’re fighting for freedom, we’re fighting against injustice, so we’re fighting against torture, we’re fighting against terrible acts of police brutality.”
Russia initially blamed Ukraine for the incursion, and alleged that 70 of the attackers were killed or pushed back.
Mr Kapustin contradicted this, saying two of his fighters were lightly wounded, two were killed and 10 others were wounded.
He said they had also taken a Russian armoured vehicle and anti-drone gun as trophies.
‘I know exactly where I got my weapons from’
Mr Kapustin was asked whether he had used US military equipment that had been donated to help Ukraine defend itself against Russian attacks.
He said: “I know exactly where I got my weapons from – unfortunately not from the western partners.”
There have long been concerns that weapons donated by the West to Ukraine could eventually be used in Russia, and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “It is no secret that this equipment is being used against our on military, and it is no secret for us that the direct and indirect involvement of western countries in this conflict is growing by the day – we are drawing the appropriate conclusions.”
‘It’s up to Ukraine to decide how to conduct this war’
US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Tuesday: “As a more general principle…we do not encourage or enable strikes inside of Russia and we’ve made that clear.
“But as we’ve also said, it’s up to Ukraine to decide how to conduct this war.”
Mr Kapustin said: “I think I explained that the Western military aid unfortunately goes back and forth, being raided.
“In Bakhmut for instance I know that a lot of armoured vehicles, American armoured vehicles, got raided by the Russian forces.”