On 2 March, the Russian media spread contradictory narratives about a Ukrainian saboteur group’s alleged “breakthrough” in Russia’s Bryansk Oblast. Some of the media claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin was going to convene an emergency meeting of the Security Council of the Russian Federation. Yet, the Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied this information.
The Telegram channel called Russian Volunteer Corps published a video filmed near the entrance of the first aid station of Lyubechany village in Russia’s Bryansk Oblast, in which a man in military uniform says that the “Russian Volunteer Corps” crossed the Russian border, and calls ordinary Russian citizens to fight. The video’s description on the Telegram channel denied claims by Russian media that a “Ukrainian DRG [sabotage and reconnaissance group]” killed children and captured hostages in Bryansk Oblast.
In a comment to Babel, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces emphasized that the Ukrainian army conducts combat operations only on the territory of Ukraine:
“Everything happening in Russia is [caused by] the local population’s opposition to Putin’s terrorist regime, non-compliance with fire safety measures, or other reasons that are not dependent on ZSU [Ukraine’s Armed Forces].. In particular, Internet reports about events in Bryansk Oblast are an audacious Moscow provocation,” the General Staff said, according to Babel.
Mykhailo Podoliak, adviser to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, dismissed the Russian media reports as a deliberate Russian provocation aimed at justifying the Russian war in Ukraine:
According to The Daily Beast, multiple independent Russian outlets identified the man in the Telegram video as Denis Kapustin, otherwise known as “White Rex,” a Russian neo-Nazi who just a few months ago admitted to previously cooperating with Russian security services.