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‘Coming home’: Russian anti-Putin group claims Belgorod bombing

Russia’s anti-Kremlin Freedom Legion, which has claimed infiltration into Russian territory, said it was “coming home” in a video posted on the social network Telegram.

Moscow said on Monday its troops were fighting a Ukrainian “sabotage” group that infiltrated Russian territory as Ukraine insisted it was still fighting for control of the eastern city of Bakhmut.

The announcement of the incursion came after kyiv said Russian forces bombarded the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro with missiles and drones overnight.

The Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin had been briefed on the cross-border incursion, adding that Moscow believed the attack was aimed at “diverting attention” from the situation in Bakhmut.

Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of the southern region of Belgorod, which has been the target of attacks since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, said troops and members of the security services were fighting a group of “sabotage “came from Ukraine.

Gladkov said troops and members of the FSB security service were “taking necessary measures to eliminate the enemy.”

Members of Russia’s Freedom Legion claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a video broadcast by a Telegram channel claiming to represent the group, a camouflaged spokesman, surrounded by armed men in fatigues, said: “Russia will be free!”

The group’s Telegram channel reported that two villages in the Belgorod region were attacked.

Kyiv denied any involvement.

“Ukraine is following the events in Russia’s Belgorod region with interest and studying the situation, but it has nothing to do with it,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhaylo Podolyak said.

After Putin sent troops to Ukraine in February 2022, the border region of Belgorod was repeatedly shelled and dozens of people were killed.

Authorities also reported a series of incidents involving members of “sabotage” groups from Ukraine.

In April, the city of Belgorod was bombed by a Russian fighter jet which accidentally dropped munitions on the city.

“The fighting continues”

The attack was reported ahead of a widely expected Ukrainian offensive, although President Volodymyr Zelensky has said his country is not yet ready.

Ukraine’s military said earlier on Monday that Russian forces bombarded Dnipro with 16 missiles and 20 attack drones overnight.

The military said its air defense forces destroyed all the drones and four of the cruise missiles.

Russia’s Wagner mercenary group and the regular army said over the weekend that Bakhmut had fallen after months of fighting, but Ukraine said on Monday its troops were still fighting for the devastated town.

kyiv said it still controlled a small area of ​​the city.

“The fighting continues,” Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Ganna Malyar said a day after Zelensky said Bakhmut was “not occupied” by Russia.

“The battle for commanding heights on the flanks – north and south of the suburbs – continues,” she added.

On Monday, Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, whose forces spearheaded the months-long Russian assault on Bakhmut, said the mercenaries would leave the town by June 1 and hand over control to Russian troops. regular.

“Wagner will leave Artemovsk from May 25 to June 1,” Prigozhin said in an audio recording on Telegram, referring to the city by its Russian name.

Prigozhin said the mercenaries had set up “defense lines” on the western outskirts of the city ahead of a planned handover of control to the Russian military.

“If the Ministry of Defense doesn’t have enough personnel, we have thousands of generals,” he said.

Prigozhin harshly criticized Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Valery Gerasimov, Russia’s chief of staff, for gaffes in Ukraine, accusing them of being incompetent and causing large-scale casualties.

Power cut in a nuclear power plant

Following attacks on the Dnipro region, Ukrainian authorities said the occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in the southeast was out of service for several hours.

Ukraine’s nuclear agency Energoatom said it was the seventh time the plant had gone into “blackout mode” since troops from Moscow seized it in March 2022.

“The station is in the process of switching to feeding Ukraine’s energy system,” Ukrenergo, Ukraine’s public grid operator, said on Monday.

The operator said that despite the morning attack, Ukraine’s energy system was functioning “stably” and there was enough electricity to “cover consumer needs”.

Located in the southeastern region of Zaporizhzhia, the six-reactor plant is the largest in Europe.

The network operator said that in the eastern Dnipro region, high-voltage lines were damaged as a result of the latest strikes from Moscow.

The latest power outage in Zaporizhzhia was caused by another wave of Russian missile attacks, Energoatom said.

euronews Gt

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