Russian Troops Recovery Rep. Pic
Russia’s military later claimed it repelled a “sabotage group of Ukrainian terrorists” seeking to cross the frontier near the settlement. This is a representational image. Simon Infanger/Unsplash.

Ongoing clashes persist in southern Russia as armed groups continue to initiate cross-border attacks from Ukraine.

Moscow has responded by launching artillery fire, specifically targeting what they refer to as "terrorists."

Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of the beleaguered Belgorod region, confirmed on Sunday that fresh clashes erupted within their territory.

Furthermore, he acknowledged, for the first time, that pro-Ukrainian forces had captured Russian prisoners of war during their incursions.

"A sabotage group came in. There is combat in [the] Novaya Tavolzhanka [border village]," Gladkov said. "I hope they will all be destroyed."

He said he was ready for talks to retrieve "our guys" and told the armed groups he would meet them for the exchange.

"The only thing stopping me from negotiating with them is our guys that are in their hands, maybe they are already dead," said Gladkov.

The Belgorod governor has been urged to hold a meeting by the pro-Kyiv Russian Volunteer Corps and the Freedom of Russia Legion, with the objective of arranging the retrieval of the captured soldiers.

In recent times, Russian settlements along the border have faced intense shelling from Ukraine, resulting in thousands of residents seeking refuge in the regional center of Belgorod.

Subsequently, Russia's military asserted that they successfully repelled a "sabotage group of Ukrainian terrorists" attempting to breach the frontier near the settlement.

"The enemy was hit by artillery. The enemy scattered and retreated," it said in a statement.

Gladkov had already requested that inhabitants of the border district of Shebekino vacate their houses due to the shelling.

Following a spectacular armed invasion from Ukraine last month that required Russia's military to employ artillery and air strikes domestically, fighting has broken out around Novaya Tavolzhanka. Anti-Kremlin nationalists claimed responsibility for the border breach.

The armed groups had earlier released a video addressing the governor. The video purportedly depicted "prisoners" and their captors called "simple soldiers sent by your leadership to this war."

He described the captives as "ordinary soldiers whom you and your political leadership sent to the slaughter", said a statement posted with the video.

Gladkov appeared in a video message hours later, in which he agreed to meet the group if the soldiers were still alive, Al Jazeera reported.

"Most likely they killed them, as hard as it is for me to say. But if they are alive, from 5-6pm – Shebekino checkpoint. I guarantee safety," Gladkov said.

While consistently denying responsibility for attacks on Russian territory, Ukraine's presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, stated on Sunday that the situation in the border areas should be seen as a glimpse into the future of Russia.

Following two fatalities the previous evening and the evacuation of hundreds of children away from the border, Governor Gladkov confirmed that Ukrainian forces continued to shell his region overnight.

These attacks on the Belgorod region coincide with Kyiv's announcement of preparing a significant counteroffensive against Russian forces.

In a video released on Sunday, the Ukrainian army seemed to urge soldiers to maintain silence regarding the plans and emphasized that there would be no official announcement regarding the commencement of the long-awaited counterattack.

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