In a daring move that has caught international attention, the Russian commander of fighters involved in a recent raid on a Russian border region has announced plans for future incursions into Russian territory from Ukraine. Denis Kapustin, also known as White Rex, the self-proclaimed commander of the Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC), made these remarks during a press conference held on the Ukrainian side of the border with Russia. The statements were made just a day after Moscow claimed to have repelled an attack on its Belgorod region, which lasted nearly 24 hours.
Kapustin, a notorious extreme right-wing Russian nationalist, stood surrounded by approximately 30 fighters in camouflage as he spoke to reporters. He boldly declared, “I think you will see us again on that side,” indicating the intention to continue operations on Russian soil. According to him, every operation carried out within Russia forces the military leadership to redirect significant forces to that particular area, thereby leaving other parts of the front and border exposed.
Responsibility for the recent incursion was claimed by two armed groups operating in Ukraine—the RVC and the Freedom of Russia Legion, both of which are affiliated with Kapustin. Ukrainian authorities have denied any involvement in the attack, suggesting that it was perpetrated by anti-Putin forces within Russia against the Russian military.
The attack on the Belgorod region resulted in casualties, including two fatalities and at least 12 wounded. Numerous reports from local Russian media indicated significant damage to houses, with hundreds destroyed or damaged. Residents have been unable to return to certain areas due to the presence of unexploded mines. The Russian military claimed to have repelled the raiders, describing them as “Ukrainian nationalists,” and reported more than 70 enemy casualties. Kapustin, on the other hand, stated that his side suffered two deaths and ten wounded fighters.
The audacity of Kapustin’s cross-border raid has raised concerns about the involvement of far-right Russian nationalists in Ukraine and its potential impact on the willingness of Western allies to provide military support to Ukraine. Kapustin, labeled a Russian neo-Nazi by the Anti-Defamation League, confirmed his right-wing views but denied any affiliation with Nazism.
Regarding allegations that his fighters used US military equipment during the attack, Kapustin evaded direct answers but suggested that such equipment could be obtained through the black market or captured from Russia in previous battles.
The Kremlin condemned the use of US military hardware in the attack, pointing to it as evidence of Western involvement in the conflict. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu warned of severe consequences for any future cross-border raids, while Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stated that the direct and indirect involvement of Western countries in the conflict was increasing.
The developments surrounding Kapustin’s actions highlight the evolving dynamics of the Ukrainian conflict and the potential escalation of tensions between Russia, Ukraine, and the Western powers involved.