On Monday, May 22, elements of the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK) and Freedom of Russia Legion (LSR) carried out an incursion into the Belgorod Oblast of Russia, which sits on the border with Ukraine. According to Ukraine’s Directorate of Intelligence, the goal of the operation was to “liberate” areas around the border and “create a certain security zone to protect the Ukrainian civilian population.” While the RDK and LSR are ethnic-Russian volunteer units within Ukraine’s international legion, Ukrainian officials have denied direct involvement, arguing that the two groups are independent from the Armed Forces of Ukraine while operating outside of the country.
Ukranians attack border post at Belgorod pic.twitter.com/rBHVs2mMy2
— ZOKA (@200_zoka) May 22, 2023
Initial footage of the incursion showed a column of at least eight armored vehicles crossing the border into Russia and to the Grayvoron border station located at (50.430443, 35.590915). Over the course of the next day, more footage showed Ukrainian operations at the border station, as well as the capture of a BTR-82A (No. 430) from a building in the complex, located (50.429519, 35.590829). This same BTR would appear several other times in footage throughout the day and is considered the only known Russian equipment loss during the incursion.
#Russia: The first ever vehicle captured on Russian soil: during the pro-Ukrainian Russian units' raid over the border into #Belgorod Oblast, a BTR-82A APC was captured at the Grayvoron border crossing checkpoint. pic.twitter.com/nS9gGIkc4E
— ?? Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) May 22, 2023
Throughout the day, there were reports that RDK and LSR entered and secure the villages of Kozinka, Gora-Podol, and Glotovo, but fell short of reacting the district capital of
The Russian MoD has published some clips showing alleged strikes on Ukrainian forces in Belgorod oblast. Some of these have already been geolocated (see: https://t.co/8Wd7rvTBdr) to right across the border (see: https://t.co/aDPU1YP2mx) pic.twitter.com/1UCKIecKCe
— Aric Toler (@AricToler) May 23, 2023
By Monday night, Russian sources began to post photos showing two captured M1224 MaxxPro MRAPs (American-supplied), both of which appear to be in working order. The exact locations of the photos are unknown.
On Tuesday, Russian state-media began to publish footage showing a number of destroyed vehicles at the Grayvoron border station, suggesting that Russian forces have re-entered the area. Those vehicles included:
A video of the aftermath of Russian artillery strikes that targeted the positions of Ukraine-led infiltration group on the territory of the "Grayvoron" border crossing point in Belgorod Oblast of Russia.
AMZ Dzik and three HMMWV military vehicles can be seen damaged. pic.twitter.com/q9tDD9ePz8
— Status-6 (@Archer83Able) May 23, 2023
- 2x American-supplied HMMWV M1151A1 (damaged)
- 1x American-supplied HMMWV M1152A1 (destroyed)
- 1x Ukrainian KRAZ COBRA (destroyed)
- 1x Polish-supplied AMZ Dzik-2 (destroyed)
- 1x Destroyed pick-up truck