Russian armed resistance group tells CBS News the war in Ukraine is helping to attack Putin on his own soil

Kharkiv, Ukraine — Major cities across the street Ukraine, including the capital Kyiv, were again targeted by Russian cruise missiles and drones in the early morning hours of Friday. Russia has ramped up the intensity of its airstrikes in recent weeks in an attempt to disrupt preparations for a long-awaited Ukrainian counter-offensive.

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

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

Twitter/Volodymr Zelensky

But there is also an increase in attacks inside Russia. Dissident groups of Russian nationals opposing President Vladimir Putin and his war in Ukraine have carried out attacks in border towns, including Bryansk and Belgorod.

Of a bomb attack in Moscow in which an outspoken proponent of the Ukrainian invasion was killed, until the most recent cross-border raids into Russia’s Belgorod region, there has been mounting evidence of armed resistance to Putin’s war within Russia.

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

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

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

An image from a video by an armed Russian opposition group, which cannot be independently verified by CBS News, reportedly shows a fire caused by an attack by the group on a power plant in Russia.

Obtained by CBS News

The fighters, heavily disguised, said they derailed a train in Bryansk earlier this month in their most successful operation to date. They gave us a video showing them causing 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 cities 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 Russia Legion and the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK) hold a briefing near the border in northern Ukraine, May 24, 2023.


Just after those raids, they held a brutal press conference near the Russian border in eastern Ukraine, during which the commander of the volunteer corps, Denis Kapustin, who is known for his far-right leanings, threatened more attacks.

“We consider phase one a successful phase,” he said. “It’s over now, but the operation continues. That’s all I can say now.”

Kapustin said no U.S. military equipment was used in the attack, and the masked men we spoke to said they could get all the guns they needed thanks to a huge black market created as a result of Putin’s war .

The group has threatened more attacks.

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

There were no direct claims of responsibility for the alleged plot, but RIA said officials had identified the suspect as “a supporter of Ukrainian neo-Nazism, a Russian national” who was plotting an attack against “law enforcement in the region”.

CBS News’ Tucker Reals contributed to this report.

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