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Ukraine-Russia war latest: Russia shuts schools, malls near border amid more Ukraine attacks

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Ukraine’s Russian units said they are the only remaining opposition to Vladimir Putin as they pleaded with the West for military support in interviews on Friday as they conducted a daring raid.

Speaking from Russian soil and operations rooms during the biggest cross-border raid since the war began, commanding officers said they were attacking Russia to resist the president’s “perverted vision of the world”.

Three Ukrainian units made up of Russian citizens – Freedom of Russia Legion (LSR), the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK) and the Siberian Battalion – began an operation into the Kursk and Belgorod regions of Russia on Tuesday.

It was launched to coincide with Russia’s elections, with polls open from Friday until Sunday. It is part of a multi-pronged attack that includes Ukrainian drones shutting down three oil refineries deep within Russian territory.

Speaking from somewhere near Tyotkino, Aleksey Baranovsky, a former lawyer and political dissident who is now an LSR fighter, said they were seeking to interrupt the election and show there were still people willing to oppose “dictator” Putin.

“We are sending a message to those inside Russia, who are demoralised and lost since [Alexei] Navalny’s murder, that we are still here, willing to fight the regime,” he said.

“We also want to show Western governments and people, like those in the UK, that we are fighting the regime, the election is not legal and that, of course Putin will win, but he is not a legitimate leader,” he added.

Mr Baranovsky urged the West to support their resistance movement “at least behind closed doors”.

Read more from Liz Cookman here.

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