Examining the Free Russia Legion, the pro-Ukrainian organization responsible for the assault on Belgorod.
The recent incursion into Russian territory by Ukrainian fighters has brought the Free Russia Legion into the spotlight.
This mysterious paramilitary unit of anti-Putin Russians has prompted questions about its identity and weaponry.
The unit has claimed responsibility for the incursion, but Moscow has not referred to the group directly.
The Free Russia Legion was established in March 2022, and members are dual citizens of Russia and Ukraine.
Although the unit is shrouded in mystery, individual members are well known to Ukrainian media or Russian opposition outlets.
The unit has a certain degree of autonomy and seems to have fought in eastern Ukraine as well as in Bakhmut.
There are doubts about whether the unit exists at all in Russia, which is convenient for the Putin regime.
However, most experts believe that they are Russian fighters. The Free Russia Legion is too valuable as a propaganda instrument for Ukraine, and it provides Kyiv with plausible deniability when it comes to talking to western countries about what happened in Russian territory. Ultimately, this paramilitary unit is a potential threat to those in the Kremlin.