Denis Kapustin, leader of the Russian paramilitary group, Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK), has pledged more cross-border incursions into Russia from Ukraine, stating, “You will see us again on that side.”
Russia, however, assured that it thwarted the recent raid, killing over 70 infiltrators. Sergei Shoigu, Russian Defence Minister, guaranteed a stringent response to any similar future acts.
The RDK, with Liberty of Russia Legion (LSR), announced their responsibility for the Monday raid in the Belgorod region. From the Ukrainian side of the border, Kapustin, also known as White Rex, expressed satisfaction over the operation’s outcomes. He claimed the raiders managed to capture some arms, including an armored personnel carrier, and took captives before exiting Russian territory within 24 hours.
Contradicting Russian military reports of heavy losses among the infiltrators, Kapustin denied severe casualties and confirmed two RDK fighters injured. The LSR separately reported two fatalities and ten injuries. Independent verification of these casualties is yet to be confirmed.
The groups RDK and LSR, described by Russia as Ukrainian militants, are in reality two anti-Kremlin paramilitary factions, according to Kyiv. Their shared objective is to overthrow Russian President Vladimir Putin’s administration. Ukraine provides support to the RDK only in terms of medical supplies, fuel, and food, as stated by Kapustin.
RDK gained attention in March 2023, participating in a cross-border raid in Russia’s Bryansk region, involving around 45 people. Kapustin, a Russian nationalist, advocates for a mono-ethnic Russian state. Reacting to allegations of neo-Nazi elements in RDK, he termed it a perception issue and identified himself as a traditionalist and patriot.
Despite a 2020 Ukrainian investigation suggesting his connection to neo-Nazi groups, Kapustin has previously admitted to being part of a football hooligan movement. On the same day, Minister Shoigu briefed the Russian military on the response to the Belgorod raid, asserting the killing of more than 70 Ukrainian nationalists, with the remainder forced back into Ukraine. He promised a swift and severe retaliation against similar actions by Ukrainian militants.