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Chaos in Russia’s Belgorod Oblast as officials flee and the Russian army shells its own civilians

Story by Віра Олійник

5 Jun 2023

"A small town gives us an example of the consequences of 20-year-long parody of a 'strong albeit criminal power'," he said, commenting on the news from Belgorod Oblast.

Russians should be careful as chaos has reigned supreme in their country in the absence of any real ruling authority after officials fled the state and the Russian army is shelling its own residential neighbourhoods. The Russian army is aggressively looting everything, authorities are ripping off residents through the evacuation, and abusing them in every possible meaning of the word, he said.

In the power vacuum, it is literally a criminal gang’s tyranny, he added.

The total informational silence is the most striking characteristic of the events in Belgorod Oblast, Podolyak added.

"If it doesn't go on TV, it doesn't exist, right?" the official wrote.

The Russian Volunteer Corp reported on June 4 that it has entered Belgorod Oblast to battle.

The Freedom of Russia Legion announced on May 22 that, together with the Russian Volunteer Corps, it had "completely liberated" the village of Kozinka in Russia’s Belgorod Oblast, passed the village of Gora-Podol, and began storming the village of Grayvoron.

Local authorities declared a "counterterrorist operation" and, according to the governor, most residents of Grayvoron were evacuated.

Russia claimed that most saboteurs were eliminated, while the rest were pushed back to Ukrainian land. The rebel fighters rebuffed the officials' words.

The Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK) and the Freedom of Russia Legion saidthat during the raid they went 42 km deep into Russia and controlled some settlements in Belgorod Oblast for a day. They claim to have lost two people in action, with 10 wounded. They claim to have destroyed several dozen Russian security forces officers and about 10 armored vehicles. They also took trophies.

Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate called the actions of the Legion and the RDK in Russia's Belgorod Oblast "the creation of a security strip" to protect Ukrainians. Russian citizens only took part in the raids, Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence representative, Andriy Yusov, said.

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