Ukrainian ‘sabotage’ group breaks into Russia

This handout photo released by Telegram Channel of Belgorod Region Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov shows the site of the crater after an explosion in Belgorod, Russia, April 21, 2023. (PHOTO / TELEGRAM CHANNEL OF BELGOROD REGION GOVERNOR VYACHESLAV GLADKOV VIA AP)

MOSCOW/KIEV – A Ukrainian Armed Forces "sabotage and reconnaissance group" has entered Russia's Belgorod region bordering Ukraine, Belgorod governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Monday.

The Russian military, together with the border service, the National Guard and the Federal Security Service (FSB), are taking the necessary measures to eliminate the enemy, Gladkov said in a Telegram post.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Defense Ministry, the FSB and the border service have reported the incursion of the Ukrainian unit to President Vladimir Putin.

"Efforts are underway to push the saboteurs out of the Russian territory and destroy this group. There are enough forces and resources on the spot," Peskov said.

Ukraine is watching the events in the Belgorod region of Russia with interest and studying the situation, but it has nothing to do with it.

Mykhailo Podolyak, Ukrainian presidential advisor 

Two Russian paramilitary groups are behind an operation in Russia's Belgorod region, which aims to create a "security strip" to protect Ukrainian civilians, Ukraine's broadcaster Suspilne reported Monday, citing a military spokesperson.

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Andriy Yusov, the spokesman for the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, said that the Russian Volunteer Corps and the Freedom of Russia Legion groups are conducting the operation.

"The task and the result (of the operation) should be increased security and protection of the Ukrainian civilian population from terrorist attacks and shelling by terrorist groups," Yusov said.

Only Russian citizens are participating in the operation, he stressed.

Separately, Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Mykhailo Podolyak said Ukraine was not involved in the situation in the Belgorod region.

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"Ukraine is watching the events in the Belgorod region of Russia with interest and studying the situation, but it has nothing to do with it," Podolyak tweeted.

Ukraine's Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said Monday that the battle for the eastern city of Bakhmut continues.

"Since yesterday, the situation in the Bakhmut direction has not changed significantly. The fighting continues," Malyar wrote in a Telegram post.

The Ukrainian forces control certain facilities in the "Litak" area of Bakhmut, while Russian troops are sweeping the areas of the city under their control, Malyar noted.

"Re-enacting the Cold War would be foolish," Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Sunday, calling for settling the Ukraine crisis under the auspices of the United Nations.

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Lula made the remarks at the just-concluded Group of Seven (G7) summit working session as an invited state leader.

The Ukraine crisis should be discussed under a UN framework rather than the G7, he said at a press conference on Monday, criticizing the US government for inciting tensions.

The Brazilian president told the press that the US aid to Ukraine and unbridled attacks on Russia are not helping to solve the Ukraine crisis peacefully.