Russian security forces fighting Russian anti-regime groups near Ukraine border, UK intelligence reports
Russian security forces have clashed with partisans in at least three locations within Russia's Belgorod Oblast, near the Ukrainian border, defence chiefs have said.
In the latest Ministry of Defence (MOD) intelligence update, it has been reported that "between 19 and 22 May 2023, Russian security forces highly likely clashed with partisans in at least three locations within Russia's Belgorod Oblast, near the Ukrainian border."
"The identity of the partisans remains unconfirmed, but Russian anti-regime groups claimed responsibility", the intelligence update added.
The fighting close to the border with Ukraine involved "small-arms fire and drone attacks," according to the update, with some villages then needing to be evacuated.
"The most serious incident took place near the town of Grayvoran. As well as small-arms firefights, there was an uptick in drone or indirect fire attacks near the incidents.
"Russia has evacuated several villages and has deployed extra security forces to the area."
Russia facing 'serious multi-domain security threat'
The intelligence update also highlighted that "Russia is facing an increasingly serious multi-domain security threat in its border regions, with losses of combat aircraft, improvised explosive device attacks on rail lines, and now direct partisan action."
It added that "Russia will almost certainly use these incidents to support the official narrative that it is the victim in the war."
A recent report by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) – Meatgrinder: Russian Tactics in the Second Year of Its Invasion of Ukraine – has analysed the command and control, air defences and other areas.
The defence and security think tank report, among other details, examined how the Russian military appears to be adapting and attempting to make up for their own shortcoming as fighting continues in Ukraine.
An overview of Russian adaptation, according to the report, "reveals a force that is able to improve and evolve its employment of key systems".
"There is evidence of a centralised process for identifying shortcomings in employment and the development of mitigations."
However, the report also states that "much of this adaptation is reactive and is aimed at making up for serious deficiencies in Russian units".
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Cover image: Drone footage of smoke above Russia's Belgorod region on 23 May 2023 (Picture: Reuters).