Kiev's militants killed one villager and injured several others, Vyacheslav Gladkov has confirmed
A resident of the village of Kozinka was killed by Ukrainian militants in Monday's raid on Russia's Belgorod Region, governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Tuesday. Initial reports spoke of a dozen wounded civilians, but no deaths.
"Very regrettably, we have a casualty. A peaceful villager of Kozinka was killed by the Ukrainian armed forces," Gladkov said on his official Telegram channel. "My sincere condolences to his family and friends."
Gladkov did not identify the villager by name, but said his wife was wounded in the raid and is currently being treated at an area hospital.
Around 100 civilians, including children and the elderly, were evacuated from Kozinka and nearby Glotovo due to the raid. All the villages have been fully re-taken and local authorities are working to restore utilities, the governor said.
Gladkov visited Glotovo, Kozinka and Gora-Podol on Tuesday, meeting with locals and inspecting the aftermath of the Ukrainian incursion. Among the items that the would-be invaders left behind was an American armored car, decorated with German crosses, he said.
A group of Ukrainian raiders crossed the border into the Grayvoron district, west of Belgorod city, on Monday. The Russian military described them as a "sabotage-reconnaissance group" and estimated their strength at around 50-200 men, using US-made armored cars.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the incursion on Tuesday as "a matter of deep concern," adding that the special military operation in Ukraine will continue in order to prevent such events in the future.
Ukrainian officials insisted they had nothing to do with the raid, describing it as an autonomous operation of the 'Freedom of Russia Legion' and the 'Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK)'. The latter group, composed of neo-Nazi militants fighting for Ukraine, had claimed responsibility for the March incursion into Russia's Bryansk Region, which left two civilians dead.
Asked to clarify why he described them as "Ukrainian militants," Peskov said he had been very precise. "There are a lot of ethnic Russians living in Ukraine, but they are still Ukrainian militants," he explained.
The US also poured cold water on Ukrainian denials. On Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman Patrick Ryder said the US government "did not approve of the transfer of equipment to any third parties," such as "paramilitary groups that are not part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine," nor had Kiev requested such supplies. He added that the US military was "studying" reports of American equipment being used in the raid.
The State Department told reporters on Monday that the US doesn't "enable or encourage" cross-border attacks, but that "it is up to Ukraine to decide how they want to conduct their military operations" against the Russian "aggressor."