One of the participants of the sabotage group that penetrated from Ukrainian territory into the Belgorod region was nationalist Alexei Lyovkin. This was reported by the Russian state agency TASS, citing a police source.
From the database of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia it turns out that Lyovkin is wanted under a criminal article, but for which he is not specified. Where Lyovkin is, according to the source, is unknown.
A Moscow court arrested Lyovkin in absentia in 2018 for creating an extremist community and inciting hatred or enmity, notes CASS.
Lyovkin called himself a member of the Russian Volunteer Corps. He, together with the “Russian Freedom” Legion, took responsibility for the invasion of the Belgorod region on Monday, May 22.
Telegram channel “Astra” informedthat in addition to Lyovkin, former actor Kirill Kanakhin took part in the sabotage. He starred in the series “Capercaillie” and starred in the “Théâtre de la Lune”. In 2018, Kanakhin, according to media reports, left Russia after a criminal case was opened against him for “participation in illegal actions”.
Another person who was allegedly involved in the events in the Belgorod region was identified by the “Attention, news” telegram. This is Alexei Dolgov, 41 years old. He is said to have previously served in the Russian army and lived in Pervomaisk, in the Luhansk region. After 2014, he visits Russia, and in 2022 he publishes photos from the suburbs of Kyiv on social networks.
Meanwhile, former State Duma deputy Ilya Ponomarev, who lives in Kiev, in an interview with British commercial radio station LBC titled himself the political head of the Legion “Freedom of Russia”. According to Ponomarev, “this war can only end in Moscow … when the regime of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is changed.” The ex-MP also believes that the Russians themselves will overthrow the current government.
The penetration of a sabotage and reconnaissance group into the Belgorod region from the territory of Ukraine became known on Monday, May 22. In the morning, messages about the border clashes began to appear on Telegram channels. Representatives of the Russian Volunteer Corps and the “Russian Freedom” Legion took responsibility for the raids. These formations fighting alongside Ukraine are made up of Russian citizens.
The authorities of the Belgorod region admitted to the penetration. According to official figures, at least eight people were injured. Several houses were destroyed. A regime of counter-terrorist operations has been introduced in the region. The situation was reported to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Some residents of the border areas of the Belgorod region have left their homes, but there is no mass evacuation of the population, according to local authorities. At the same time, the last call in schools in Belgorod, scheduled for May 23, will be held remotely.
The representative of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, Andriy Yusov, said that an operation was underway to create a “safe zone” in the Belgorod region. This is the first statement of its kind. As a rule, the Ukrainian military does not comment on allegations of shelling or sabotage on Russian territory. Mikhail Podolyak, adviser to the office of the Ukrainian president, in turn wrote that in Kyiv they were “following with interest” the events, but that they were not “directly linked to them”.
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