Support The Moscow Times!

Russia in ‘De Facto’ State of War Says Belgorod Governor

The town of Shebekino in the Belgorod region after shelling. Vyacheslav Gladkov / Telegram

The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region, which lies on the border with Ukraine, said Monday that Russia was in a “state of de facto war” and called for the annexation of adjacent Ukrainian territory. 

“We live in a state of de facto war. Whether we like it or not, it’s happening,” Belgorod Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said during an interview on state-controlled TV channel Rossiya 24.

The comments words were a rare admission of the scale of the fighting in Ukraine and how it is has spilled into Russia — top officials generally prefer the phrase "special military operation" to the word "war."

Last week, the Belgorod region was the site of an armed incursion by anti-Kremlin Russian fighters, an attack the Kremlin has accused Kyiv of organizing.

At least six "sabotage-reconnaissance groups" have crossed the border with Ukraine into Belgorod region since the start of the war, Gladkov said, without offering details of the attacks.

The Belgorod region, which lies across the border from Ukraine’s second-largest city Kharkiv, has reported hundreds of shelling and drone attacks in the 15 months since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion.

Gladkov argued that Russia should annex Ukraine’s Kharkiv region as a way to prevent further strikes on Russian territory.

“Annexing Kharkiv to [become a part of] the Belgorod region. This is the best solution to the problem of shelling in the Belgorod region,” he said. 

In September, Russia’s army withdrew from around the city of Kharkiv during a counteroffensive by Ukrainian forces.

… we have a small favor to ask.

As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just 2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.


Read more