With another attack by guerrilla groups on the Belgorod region, Russian commanders face a serious dilemma of whether to strengthen their defenses in Russia’s border regions or strengthen their lines in occupied Ukraine, the British Ministry of Defense said. The Institute for War Studies, in turn, assessed that “partisan actions in the Belgorod region can be classified as raids.”
As reported in the daily intelligence update of the British Ministry of Defense, on Thursday morning guerrilla groups attacked the Belgorod region for the second time in ten days, with what appeared to be drones also hitting the city of Belgorod itself (35 kilometers in Russia), while after the Ukrainian shelling, the authorities evacuated civilians from the border town Shebikino.
It added that Russian military and internal forces were likely to have had faster success in stopping this attack than previously, however, according to a Russian Defense Ministry press release, they resorted to deploying the full range of firepower on their own territory, including attack helicopters and a heavy launcher TOS-1A thermobaric rockets.
“Russian commanders now face a serious dilemma of whether to strengthen their defenses in Russia’s border regions or strengthen their lines in the occupied Ukraine” – rated.
ISW: partisan actions in the Belgorod region are armed rallies, without attempts to control the territory
Reports on Thursday’s incidents and their scale were also analyzed by the Institute of War Studies (ISW).
“Reports that the operations were carried out by company-sized groups (about a hundred soldiers) indicate that the actions in the Belgorod region are raids in the light of the (military) doctrine,” the center assessed. As explained in army doctrine USA Raids are “small-scale offensive operations involving rapid entry into enemy territory to obtain information, disorganize enemy forces, or destroy facilities.”
Such raids “end with a planned withdrawal from a well-defined territory and are not intended to establish long-term control over that area,” it explained. Thus, although the formations that invaded the Belgorod region declare that they want to occupy Russian territory, the incidents of May 22 and June 1 were not a serious attempt to control areas of the region, concluded the ISW.
The center reminded that the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK) and the Freedom of Russia Legion (LSR) admitted to the operation in the Belgorod region. “The recording with geolocation data published on June 1 shows alleged LSR soldiers operating near Novaya Tavolzhanka (3.5 km from the Russian-Ukrainian border) and LSR and DRK soldiers shelling Russian positions near this town and near Shebekin (7 km from the border)” – reported the resort.
As added, the second formation – RDK – published a recording showing – as it announced – its soldiers fighting on the outskirts of Shebekin. ISW also quoted the assessments of Russian war bloggers who claim that the formations that carried out the raid were company-sized and had a tank and armored vehicles at their disposal.
Analysts noted the reactions in Russia, including statements by the Kremlin that Vladimir Putin is informed of the situation and reports of evacuations in the Belgorod region. According to the ISW, “the evacuations, Putin’s declared remark and the defense ministry’s assessment that the raids were an attempt to ‘invade’ Russian territory indicate that the Kremlin is trying to use these limited attacks to support the ongoing information operation” to build “domestic support for the prolonged war against Ukraine.
“This is just the beginning”
The head of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov, in an interview with Radio Svoboda, said: “This is not the first time that the Russians, armed in hand, go to defend their country. We are getting used to it. (…) I am convinced that this is only the beginning and that there will be a continuation. It will not only be Belgorod.”
Danilov stated that “nothing strange is happening” and “it is only a matter of time when such actions will be observed” in the future. He then added: “Look what’s going on there (in Russia) – they’re starting to launch drones in Moscow by themselves.”
The Freedom of Russia Legion, made up of Russians fighting on the Ukrainian side, published a video on Thursday in which it claims that its guerrillas are on the Russian border and will “soon” enter its territory.
Also, the RDK, another Russian volunteer formation, published a statement on Thursday, which shows that it is once again fighting on Russian territory in the Belgorod region. During the day on Thursday, there were reports of alleged attacks in the area of Shebekina in the Belgorod region.
An armed rally of both formations in the Belgorod region took place last week. The Ukrainian authorities have assured that they are not involved in these operations.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA/SERGEY KOZLOV