The reported attack in Russia’s Bryansk region near the border with Ukraine has “prompted speculation” among some Russian officials, according to the latest assessment by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
On Thursday, Bryansk Governor Alexander Bogomaz claimed that “several dozen Ukrainian saboteurs” bombed the village of Lyubekhane in the Klimovsky district, taking up to six hostages. Russian President Vladimir Putin called the incident a “terrorist attack,” but Ukrainian officials accused the Kremlin of staging a false “provocation.”
However, according to the ISW report, several Russian officials have raised questions about Russia’s response to the alleged attack.
Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for the Kremlin, told reporters he was “not aware” if Russia plans to change its status of a “special military operation” in Ukraine to “war” over the attack, state news agency TASS reported. Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin also used Thursday’s attack as another opportunity to promote his own mercenaries, saying “sarcastically” that the Kremlin had “allowed Ukraine to breach its ‘red lines’.” , wrote the ISW.
The ISW also cited several calls by Kremlin-affiliated Mil-bloggers for Russia to “stretch security measures and conduct retaliatory operations” in response to Thursday’s attack. Some bloggers said Russia should officially label Ukraine’s armed forces and other groups allied with Kiev as “terrorist organizations.” Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the Chechen Republic, specifically called on Russia to attack Ukrainian civilians “in order to punish the perpetrators of this incident,” the report said.
“These responses show that the ultranationalist community is largely unhappy with numerous aspects of the Kremlin’s inability to fully engage with its own false rhetoric that Russia is waging an ‘existential war’ in Ukraine,” the ISW added.
Members of the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK) – a group of Russians fighting to defend Ukraine against Russian invasion – claimed to have crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border on Thursday. However, according to reports from members of the group, the men did not fire on civilians or take hostages in their offensive.
“The Russian Volunteer Corps came to the Bryansk region to show their compatriots that there is hope that free Russians can fight the regime with guns in their hands,” RDK wrote on Telegram.
Other Russian districts along Ukraine’s northern border have also reportedly come under fire in the ongoing invasion of the Kremlin. On Tuesday, Belgorod Mayor Valentin Demidov said the wreckage of three unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) crashed into the city, damaging a residential complex. The origin of the drones remains unclear to officials.
Moscow has not let up in the Kharkiv region of northern Ukraine either. On Monday, Kharkiv-based media outlet Gwara reported that more than 15 settlements in the region had been hit by Russian shelling, and the region’s governor Oleg Sinegubov reported on Tuesday that a 73-year-old man was hospitalized because of Russian shelling became. artillery and mortars.”
news week has reached out to the Russian Defense Ministry for comment.