There are new cross-border raids by anti-Putin groups

None

NEGATIVE
WAR IN UKRAINEPro-Ukrainian forces are conducting incursions into Russian territory, temporarily seizing a village in the border region of Kursk, reminiscent of similar operations in the spring of 2023 but occurring in a very different military and political context.
Advertising Read moreUkraine-based Russian militias are again on the attack, staging cross-border raids this week into Russian territory.
Pro-Ukrainian forces even claimed on Tuesday, March 12, to have taken full control of a Russian village.
The Freedom of Russia Legion, mainly composed of anti-Putin Russian fighters, posted a video showing Russian soldiers deserting Tetkino, a municipality in the Kursk region, on the Russian side of the border.
Forces from other pro-Ukrainian groups – the Russian Volunteer Corps and the Siberian Battalion – also announced incursions into the Kursk and Belgorod regions.
These attacks were carried out with the support of “tanks, armoured vehicles, and drones”, according to analysts from the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based research group.
Moscow initially denied the attackers had entered areas inside Russia before stating later that the enemy fighters did not advance very far into Russia and were all driven back.
“Thanks to the sacrifice of Russian soldiers, all attacks by Ukrainian terrorists have been repelled,” affirmed the Russian ministry of defence.
The situation on the ground appears to be somewhat less clear than suggested by Russian authorities.
“Currently, there are still battles around Tetkino and pro-Ukrainian forces still seem capable of controlling part of this locality,” says Sim Tack, chief military analyst at Force Analysis, a conflict monitoring company.
Russia’s national guard said on Thursday it was fighting off attacks from pro-Ukrainian groups in the Kursk region, as clashes continued at the border.
The Russian defence ministry claimed its troops killed 195 Ukrainian soldiers and destroyed five tanks and four armoured infantry vehicles, two days after saying it killed 234 Ukrainian troops in another border assault.
In a joint statement, three pro-Kyiv militia groups called on Russian authorities to evacuate civilians from the regions of Belgorod and Kursk, saying that “civilians should not suffer from the war”.
The current incursions are “very similar to what happened in the spring and summer of 2023”, notes Huseyn Aliyev, a specialist in the Russia-Ukraine war at the University of Glasgow.
In that incursion, pro-Kyiv Russian troops had crossed the border – a little further south, in the Belgorod region – and temporarily seized a village before retreating under pressure from Russian artillery.
At the time unprecedented, last year’s incursions served to put pressure on Russia by highlighting that its national territory was poorly protected.
The dynamics of the war were then in Ukraine’s favour, given its army had managed to fend off Russian offensives.
The 2023 raids had begun just before the start of Kyiv’s counteroffensive and gave the impression that Ukraine could strike anywhere.
The situation today is very different.
The counteroffensive has fizzled out and Ukraine is now more on the back foot.
As Aliyev notes: “Moscow has built a defensive line – similar to the one it set up in Ukraine – about twenty kilometres inside Russian territory.”
This line of trenches extends from the north of the Kursk region to the south of the Belgorod region.
Before last year, “Russia didn’t have any defensive positions there”, Aliyev adds, meaning incursions could be made deeper into Russian territory.
Pro-Ukrainian forces chose to attack Tetkino for its vulnerable position.
“The village captured is not behind the defensive line.
It’s a buffer zone, what Russia calls a security zone,” Aliyev says.
“On the other side of the border the region is mostly under control of Ukrainians, so it’s not difficult for pro-Ukraine forces to cross the border and occupy that village”An attempt to influence the Russian election?
If taking a border village like Tetkino was a relatively easy objective for the Freedom of Russia Legion and other armed groups of anti-Putin Russians, it remains to be seen how long they’ll be able to stay there.
“If they’ve taken armoured vehicles, it’s also in anticipation of a rapid retreat, so they suspect they won’t be able to occupy Tetkino” for long, notes Tack.
But why expend resources on a raid into Russia instead of strengthening defences on the front line in the Donbas, where Ukraine’s forces are under great duress?
Officially, the Freedom of Russia Legion claimed it wanted to “influence the presidential election” to be held March 15-17, according to the Moscow TimesThe pro-Kyiv Russians aim to show their compatriots that there is an alternative to Putin.
“It is a way for them to try to prove to the Russians that they have the means to ‘liberate Russia from Putin’,” explains Nicolo Fasola, a specialist in Russian military issues at the University of Bologna.
The Ukrain

BREACH IN UKRAINE.

Intruding into Russian territory, pro-Ukrainian forces are temporarily taking control of a village in Kursk’s border region. These actions bear resemblance to similar operations that took place in the spring of 2023, but they are taking place in a very different military and political environment.

Promoting Continue reading.

This week, Russian militias with bases in Ukraine have resumed their offensive, conducting cross-border incursions into Russian territory. On Tuesday, March 12, pro-Ukrainian forces even declared they had complete control over a Russian village. A video of Russian soldiers fleeing Tetkino, a municipality in the Kursk region on the Russian side of the border, was posted by the Freedom of Russia Legion, an organization primarily made up of anti-Putin Russian fighters.

The Russian Volunteer Corps and the Siberian Battalion, two more pro-Ukrainian forces, also declared their intentions to invade the Kursk and Belgorod regions. According to analysts from the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based research organization, “tanks, armored vehicles, and drones” were used to carry out these attacks.

Moscow later claimed that the enemy fighters were driven back after making only limited progress into Russia. Initially, Moscow denied that the attackers had penetrated any areas within Russia. The Russian Ministry of Defense declared, “All attacks by Ukrainian terrorists have been repelled thanks to the sacrifice of Russian soldiers.”.

It seems that the situation on the ground is not quite as clear-cut as Russian authorities have claimed. Chief military analyst Sim Tack of Force Analysis, a conflict monitoring organization, states that “there are still battles around Tetkino and pro-Ukrainian forces seem capable of controlling part of this locality.”.

As border clashes persisted, Russia’s national guard reported on Thursday that it was fending off attacks from pro-Ukrainian factions in the Kursk region.

Two days after reporting that it had killed 234 Ukrainian soldiers in another border assault, the Russian ministry of defense claimed that its forces had killed 195 Ukrainian soldiers and destroyed five tanks and four armored infantry vehicles.

Declaring that “civilians should not suffer from the war,” three pro-Kyiv militia groups urged Russian authorities to evacuate civilians from the Belgorod and Kursk regions in a joint statement.

According to Huseyn Aliyev, an expert on the Russia-Ukraine conflict at the University of Glasgow, the current incursions are “very similar to what happened in the spring and summer of 2023.”. A little further south in the Belgorod region, pro-Kyiv Russian troops had crossed the border in that incursion and briefly taken control of a village before fleeing under fire from Russian artillery.

The incursions last year, which were unprecedented at the time, highlighted Russia’s inadequate national security and put pressure on the country. Because Ukraine’s army had successfully repelled Russian offensives, the war’s dynamics were then in its favor. It appeared as though Ukraine could strike anywhere after the 2023 raids, which had started right before Kyiv’s counteroffensive.

Things are drastically different now. Ukraine is now more on the defensive as the counteroffensive has faded. According to Aliyev: “Moscow has constructed a defensive line approximately twenty kilometers inside Russian territory. It is comparable to the one it established in Ukraine. This trench line stretches from the Belgorod region’s south to the Kursk region’s north.

According to Aliyev, before the previous year, “Russia didn’t have any defensive positions there,” which allowed for deeper incursions into Russian territory.

Tetkino was targeted by pro-Ukrainian forces due to its precarious position.

“The village that was taken does not lie beyond the protective perimeter. What Russia refers to as a security zone, it’s a buffer zone, according to Aliyev. It is not difficult for pro-Ukrainian forces to cross the border and take that village because the area is primarily under Ukrainian control on the other side of it.

A ploy to meddle in the election in Russia?

To what extent the Freedom of Russia Legion and other armed groups of anti-Putin Russians will be able to hold Tetkino, if seizing the border village was a relatively easy goal for them, is an open question. “They believe they won’t be able to hold Tetkino for long if they’ve taken armored vehicles, which is also in preparation for a swift withdrawal,” observes Tack.

Officially, the Freedom of Russia Legion stated it wished to “influence the presidential election” that is scheduled to take place on March 15–17, but why would Ukraine spend money on a raid into Russia when it could be better used to fortify defenses on the front lines in the Donbas, where its forces are under immense pressure? This was reported by the Moscow Times.

Russia’s pro-Kyiv faction seeks to demonstrate to its fellow citizens that there is a substitute for Putin. According to University of Bologna expert on Russian military matters Nicolo Fasola, “it is a way for them to try to prove to the Russians that they have the means to ‘liberate Russia from Putin.'”.

The Russian militia groups had acted independently without informing Kyiv, according to the Ukrainian military leadership. This is unlikely, according to Tack, “because at the very least, the Ukrainian army must give its tacit approval before troops and tanks can be moved in this region.”. However, this supports the theory that Russians conducted an operation to remove Vladimir Putin from office.”.

However, Tack asserts that the anti-Putin forces’ goals are manifestly unrealistic. He observes that “these fighters do not have the means to go very far” and that they made no attempt to breach the recently established Russian defenses.

According to Aliyev, very few Russians will even be aware of Tetkino’s capture. The issue is that independent and Western mass media are not followed by the majority of Russians. They will also be fed Russian propaganda regarding a supposed failed attempt by a Ukrainian “terrorist” to attack Russia. ****.

Ukraine’s “diversionary powers.”.

The cross-border raids might even be detrimental in this sense. These incursions, which coincide with the Russian presidential election a few days away, “will likely cement the attractiveness of Putin as president,” predicts Fasola. Putin’s platform is largely based on the rhetoric of a “besieged Russia,” and these strikes on Russian territory essentially confirm his claims, at least in the eyes of the Russian people as a whole. “.

However, the high command in Ukraine does not consider these operations to be ineffective. According to Tack, “Kyiv has diversion capabilities that include these anti-Putin Russian forces.”. “Moscow is compelled by each of their operations to commit resources that can act swiftly to protect Russia’s borders.”. “.

According to Tack, the raids are a part of “a broader strategy at work in recent weeks.”. Later in February, dozens of drones were used in an attack against the Lukoil oil refinery in Kirichi, close to Saint Petersburg, after attacks against Russian warships in the Black Sea. The purpose of these detours is to showcase Ukraine’s ability to cause disruptions, even when forced to play a primarily defensive role in the conflict.

The French original of this article has been translated.

Get the daily newsletter to learn about important global news each morning.

Leave a Reply

scroll to top