Paramilitary group behind raid from Ukraine into Russia vows more incursions

·2-min read
Members of the Russian Volunteer Corps (AFP via Getty Images)
Members of the Russian Volunteer Corps (AFP via Getty Images)

The head of a paramilitary group that said it was behind a cross-border raid into Russia from Ukraine has vowed to soon launch more incursions.

Denis Kapustin, the commander of the Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC), speaking to reporters on the Ukrainian side of the border said: “I think you will see us again on that side.”

“I cannot reveal those upcoming things, I cannot even reveal the direction. The ... border is pretty long. Yet again there will be a spot where things will get hot.”

Mr Kapustin, whose nom de guerre is White Rex, said: “We’re satisfied with the result [of the raid].”

The militants carried out their attack in the Belgorod region using armoured vehicles on Monday.

The Russian military said it had routed the forces, and pushed those who survived back into Ukraine. Moscow claimed several civilians were injured during the incursion.

Mr Kapustin claimed that total losses on his side for the operation were two killed and 10 wounded. Moscow claimed it killed over 70 “Ukrainian nationalists”.

Another group, the Liberty of Russia Legion (LSR), also claimed responsibility for the raid.

Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC) commander, Moscow-born Denis Kapustin, also known as Denis Nikiti (REUTERS)
Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC) commander, Moscow-born Denis Kapustin, also known as Denis Nikiti (REUTERS)

Russia describes the RDK and LSR as Ukrainian militants - but Kyiv says they come from two anti-Kremlin paramilitaries.

Both groups say they want to dismantle Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime, and have in the past been described as part of an international legion involved in Ukraine’s territorial defence.

Mr Kapustin, known as a Moscow-born Russian nationalist, was asked repeatedly about Western media reports that his militia had used US military equipment that was meant to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia’s invasion, but declined to answer directly. “I know exactly where I got my weapons from. Unfortunately not from the Western partners”, he said.

He also suggested that Western military equipment had been captured by Russia in the battle for Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine and that such equipment could be bought on the black market.

“I think I explained that the Western military aid unfortunately goes back and forth, being raided.

“In Bakhmut for instance I know that a lot of armoured vehicles, American armoured vehicles, got raided by the Russian forces,” he said.

The US said it was sceptical that reports of US-supplied weapons being used in the incursion were true and did not “encourage or enable strikes inside of Russia”.

But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the vehicles were evidence of growing Western military involvement in Ukraine.

“It is no secret for us that more and more equipment is being delivered to Ukraine’s armed forces. It is no secret that this equipment is being used against our own military,” he said.

“We are drawing the appropriate conclusions.”