Russian armed resistance group tells CBS News war in Ukraine helps it attack Putin on its own soil

Kharkov, Ukraine — Major cities around Ukraine, including the capital kyiv, were again targeted by Russian cruise missiles and drones in the early hours of Friday morning. Russia has increased the intensity of its air attacks in recent weeks, attempting to disrupt preparations for a long-awaited Ukrainian counteroffensive.

A missile slammed into a clinic in the eastern city of Dnipro later Friday morning, killing at least one person and injuring 15 others, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Twittercalling it “another crime against humanity”.

An image from a video shared on Twitter by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy shows the damage caused by what he said was a deadly Russian missile attack on a clinic in the southeastern city of Dnipro, May 26, 2023.

Twitter/Volodymr Zelenskyy

But there has also been an increase in attacks inside Russia. Splinter groups of Russian nationals opposed to President Vladimir Putin and his war in Ukraine have carried out attacks in border towns including Bryansk and Belgorod.

Of bombing in Moscow who killed a staunch supporter of invading Ukraine, to the most recent cross-border raids in Russia’s Belgorod region, there has been mounting evidence of armed resistance to Putin’s war, the interior of Russia.

A collection of disparate anti-Kremlin armed groups are behind the attacks. They have divergent political views and ideologies, but they are united by a common goal:

“To ensure the collapse of the Russian regime as quickly as possible,” in the words of a masked gunman from one of the groups, who spoke to CBS News for a rare taped interview.

We have sent written questions to one of the partisan groups that has claimed responsibility for some of the recent attacks on Russian soil.

A still from a video provided by a Russian armed opposition group, which cannot be independently verified by CBS News, purportedly shows a fire caused by an attack by the group on an electrical substation in Russia.

Obtained by CBS News

The heavily disguised fighters said they derailed a train in Bryansk earlier this month in their most successful action to date. They gave us a video purporting to show them setting off an explosion and throwing a Molotov cocktail at a Russian electrical substation.

“We are destroying military targets and supporting infrastructure,” the armed group’s masked spokesman told CBS News.

CBS News cannot independently verify the group’s claims, and bold attacks this week on Russian towns in the Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine, were launched by two other partisan organizations calling themselves the Russian Volunteer Corp and the Free Russia Legion.

Representatives of the Free Russian Legion and the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK) hold a briefing near the border in northern Ukraine, May 24, 2023.


Fresh out of those raids, they held a cheeky press conference near the Russian border in eastern Ukraine, with volunteer corps commander Denis Kapustin, known for his ultra-rightist leanings, threatening new attacks.

“We consider the first phase to be a successful phase,” he said. “It’s over now but the operation is ongoing. That’s all I can say for now.”

Kapustin said no US military equipment was used in the attack, and the masked men we spoke to said they could get all the weapons they needed through a huge black market that arose as a result of Putin’s war.

The group threatened further attacks.

Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti news agency quoted officials on Friday as saying a Russian national had been arrested and charged with plotting a bombing in the Black Sea resort town of Gelendzhik, not far from the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea occupied by Russia.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the alleged plot, but RIA said officials identified the suspect as “a supporter of Ukrainian neo-Nazism, a Russian citizen”, who was plotting an attack on “the forces of the order of the region”.

CBS News’ Tucker Reals contributed to this report.

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