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Ex-Wagner fighters join Russian volunteer forces, battling for Ukraine on Russian soil

Russian volunteer forces vow to press on with their campaign on Russian territory.
Ex-Wagner fighters join Russian volunteer forces, battling for Ukraine on Russian soil
Russian volunteer fighters from the Freedom of Russia Legion on Russian soil. Photo: the Freedom of Russia Legion via Telegram
Ex-Wagner fighters join Russian volunteer forces, battling for Ukraine on Russian soil

Ex-Wagner Group fighters are among the Russian volunteer forces battling for Ukraine on Russian soil, revealed Denis Kapustin, leader of the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK).

“Former Wagner Group fighters have taken part in the ranks of the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK) in battles on the Avdiivka and Lyman fronts. Of course, they have also participated in this limited military operation, which we continue to carry out on Russian territory,” Kapistin announced during a press conference in Kyiv.

Just last week, these Russian volunteer units launched a daring offensive from Ukraine, penetrating deep into Russia’s Belgorod and Kursk regions. They claimed to have captured two Russian towns, while Russian forces allegedly suffered up to 1,000 casualties in the intense fighting.

Kholod, a Russian volunteer fighter from the Freedom of Russia Legion, vowed to press on with their campaign.

“Vladimir Putin has lost the last remnants of his legitimacy. Power is slipping from his grasp, and he controls fewer and fewer processes within Russia. The Russian people see this clearly, and an increasing number of our compatriots are joining our ranks. Soon, we will march on other cities,” said the fighter.

On 21 March, authorities in the Russian town of Graivoron near the Ukrainian border called for evacuation from Belgorod Oblast. The head of the Graivoron district administration, Gennady Bondarev, urged people to temporarily leave the area.  

“I appeal to those who remain in the district. The situation continues to remain tense. I ask you to make the right decision and temporarily leave the territory of the municipal district,” he wrote on Telegram.

He said the Yaroslavl Oblast of Russia is prepared to accept evacuees.

Graivoron, with a pre-war population over 6,000, is just 5km from Ukraine’s Kharkiv and Sumy oblasts. The town and surrounding district have faced regular shelling. On 20 March, Russian authorities reported that two residents were killed in another shelling of Graivoron.

The Belgorod governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov, announced plans to set up checkpoints in seven border settlements staffed by security forces. These include Kozinka, Glotovo, Gora-Podil, and Graivoron itself. Gladkov also said 9,000 children would be evacuated from the region. 

Recent days have seen fighting in the border town of Kozinka, which Russia claims to control.

Ukrainian areas like Kharkiv continue being shelled from Belgorod and Kursk regions, with 5 civilians killed on 20 March.

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