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4 Mar, 2023 12:29

Kiev approved deadly raid into Russia, neo-Nazi behind attack tells FT

The cross-border incursion earlier this week left two civilians dead and a young boy wounded
Kiev approved deadly raid into Russia, neo-Nazi behind attack tells FT

The recent cross-border raid on Russian villages which left two civilians dead and a young boy injured was approved in advance by the Ukrainian authorities, a neo-Nazi fighter involved in the attack has told the Financial Times. Officials in Kiev previously tried to distance themselves from the incursion.

Fighters from the Ukraine-based Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK) overran villages across the border in Russia’s Bryansk Region on Thursday, opening fire on civilian vehicles and leaving behind landmines and booby traps.

In a social media video, the Kiev-aligned group officially claimed responsibility for the attack. The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) said the invaders were forced back to Ukrainian territory and hit with a “massive artillery strike.” 

Speaking to the FT in a report published on Friday, Denis Nikitin – who appeared in the RDK video – said the Ukrainian authorities had “signed off” on the raid. “Yes, of course, this action was agreed, otherwise it couldn’t have happened,” he claimed. “How do you imagine that I passed through the dark of night there?” 

Nikitin explained that it would have been impossible for his group to slip through Ukrainian defenses and cross into Russia without some sort of green light from Kiev. “There are mined bridges, there are cameras, heat-seeking drones, there are hidden open observation points,” he stated. “If I did not coordinate it with anyone [in Ukraine’s military]… I think we would simply be destroyed.” 

Nikitin’s comments contradict claims by Mikhail Podoliak, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, who dismissed the raid as “a classic deliberate provocation.” Podoliak denied that Kiev was involved in what he described as Russia’s “internal conflicts.” 

Nikitin, whose real name is Denis Kapustin, has been linked to several far-right and football hooligan groups. The FT described him as “a notorious extremist” with “ties to neo-Nazis and white nationalists across the Western world.” Nikitin has previously denied allegations of extremism, and told the FT that he was unaware of any civilian casualties from the RDK’s actions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin described the raid as “a terrorist act” that purposefully targeted civilians.