Anti-Putin Russians say they launched a cross-border attack from Ukraine. Here’s what we know

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Anti-Putin Russians say they launched a cross-border attack from Ukraine. Here’s what we know

By Rob Picheta and Nathan Hodge, CNN

Updated 7:13 PM EDT, Tue May 23, 2023

Reporter explains significance of attack that happened across Russian border

02:25 – Source: CNNCNN — 

The images are arresting: Russian fighters aligned with Ukraine crossing the border into Russia’s Belgorod region, seizing a checkpoint and sowing confusion and anger in Moscow.

Residents of the settlements under attack in Russia’s Belgorod region have been resettled in other areas as authorities continue “clearing the territory” after the cross-border incursion that launched in Ukraine, regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Tuesday.

But questions linger about the groups behind the attack, how it took place, and what it means for the war: Was this a classic piece of a military sleight-of-hand, a brief show of force meant to confuse and distract Russian commanders? Does it signal the emergence of serious armed opposition inside Russia? Or are there murkier forces at work?

Here’s what you need to know.

What has happened in Belgorod?

A group of anti-Putin Russian nationals, who are aligned with the Ukrainian army, claimed responsibility for an attack in Russian’s southwestern region of Belgorod, which borders north-eastern Ukraine.

Russia’s Investigative Committee announced an investigation into the attack on Telegram, claiming: “Residential and administrative buildings and civilian infrastructure were subjected to mortar and artillery fire. As a result of these criminal actions, several civilians were wounded,”

Two areas of the region were then hit overnight by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), according to regional Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov, causing two houses to catch fire.

A helicopter circles over Russia’s Belgorod region, the site of fighting between Russian defectors and pro-Kremlin troops amid the war in Ukraine.astrapress/Telegram

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