Russia warns Kyiv of harsh response to future incursions after Belgorod attack
Russia has issued a stern warning to Kyiv, stating that it will retaliate “extremely” harshly to any future incursions, following a significant attack on Russian soil. This comes after Moscow deployed jets and artillery to repel an armed group that crossed over from Ukraine.
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu addressed military officials, stating that Russia would continue to respond promptly and harshly to such actions by Ukrainian militants. This follows two days of fighting in the southern region of Belgorod, during which the region was targeted by numerous drones and sustained artillery and mortar fire.
According to Moscow, Russian forces killed over 70 Ukrainian terrorists and destroyed several armed vehicles during the skirmishes. However, AFP could not independently verify these claims. Russia stated that the remaining fighters had been driven back across the border, as reported by Bangkok Post.
In a related development, Yevgeny Prigozhin, chief of the Wagner mercenary group, revealed that around 10,000 prisoners he had recruited to fight with Wagner were killed on the battlefield in Ukraine. Prigozhin has been critical of the regular army and blamed Shoigu for Moscow’s massive losses, also stating that Russia’s border with Ukraine was not properly protected.
Last year, Prigozhin toured Russian prisons in an attempt to convince inmates to fight with Wagner in Ukraine, offering them amnesty upon their return if they survived. This has led to convicts being used as cannon fodder in Ukraine, accounting for most of Wagner’s losses in the pro-Western country.
Prigozhin, whose influence has risen significantly during the offensive, has criticised Russia’s top brass, accusing them of being responsible for the huge losses.
“There are now tens of thousands of relatives of those who were killed. Probably there will be hundreds of thousands. We cannot hide from this.”
Additionally, Russia announced it will try five foreign men, including three British citizens, a Swede, and a Croatian, for fighting alongside Ukrainian troops. The trial will take place in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don, and the accused are believed to face trial in absentia. The men have been charged with fighting alongside Ukrainian forces, including the Azov regiment, which battled against Russian forces during the siege of the southern port city of Mariupol.
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