Ukraine's intelligence chief on Freedom of Russia Legion and Russian Volunteer Corps: They're growing stronger and we'll help them

Saturday, 16 March 2024, 19:49

Kyrylo Budanov, Chief of Ukraine’s Defence Intelligence, has said that Freedom of Russia Legion, Russian Volunteer Corps and the Sibir (Siberian) Battalion, which are undertaking operations in Kursk and Belgorod oblasts of the Russian Federation, are growing stronger, adding that Ukraine will be helping them.

Source: Kyrylo Budanov on the national 24/7 newscast

Quote from Budanov: "There is no doubt they are hitting their stride, they’re no longer just a ‘group’, now they’re a force. There are a few of them now, they’re acting together, and they’re close to joining together on the basis of a joint vision of how the Russian Federation should transform. Many Russian opposition forces, both inside Russia and those that are currently temporarily abroad, will join them."

Details: Budanov said that Ukrainian intelligence has information that representatives of these Russian movements "are not planning to wrap up any time soon, and will do everything within their power".

"They’ve been helping us since the first day of the events that unfolded on 24 February [2022], and they’re good warriors. They have fought in many of Ukraine’s hottest spots. We’re going to try and help them as much as we can," Budanov said.

Budanov also explained why no significant protests have occurred in Russia. The first reason, he said, was "moral", because "Russia is really the country of slaves". He named the lack of jobs and opportunities to make money other than by joining the Russian military in Russian regions as the second reason.


  • On 12 March, soldiers of the Freedom of Russia Legion, the Russian Volunteer Corps and the Sibir (Siberian) Battalion reported that they crossed the Russian border. The military volunteer groups posted an address online, and a video appeared on Telegram channels purporting to show military personnel firing their weapons on Russian territory. ​​Military volunteers from the Freedom of Russia Legion claimed they had taken full control of the Russian town of Tyotkino in Kursk Oblast.
  • The founder of the Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC) said that fighters of the RVC will make efforts to ensure that no sham elections of Russian president Vladimir Putin take place on the territories bordering Ukraine.
  • On the morning of 14 March, Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of Russia's Belgorod Oblast, said that Russian air defence assets and personnel had shot down eight aerial targets over the city of Belgorod and the surrounding district of the same name. At the same time, Russian Telegram news outlets reported an alleged attempt by a "Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance group" to enter the territory of the oblast, but Russian volunteer soldiers who are fighting on Ukraine's side said that it was them attacking military targets in Russia. They explained that they were forced to open fire because Russia continues to hit peaceful settlements in Ukraine.
  • Later, the Freedom of Russia Legion posted a video featuring burning buildings and reported that they had destroyed two Russian army ammunition storage points in the village of Tyotkino, in Russia's Kursk Oblast. At the same time, the governor of Kursk Oblast said that "Ukrainian terrorists" were supposedly breaking into the oblast, while Rosgvardia claimed that it was "repelling an attack by Ukrainian saboteurs".
  • On 16 March, the Russian Volunteer Corps released footage of a new group of Russian prisoners of war they had captured and said they were ready to exchange them at a meeting with the Belgorod Oblast’s governor.

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