Romanian Battlegroup ‘Getica’ and the Conflict in Ukraine: A Closer Look at Volunteer Involvement and Border Skirmishes

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Amid dwindling NATO military aid for the Kiev regime and successful efforts by Russian troops to push through heavily fortified Ukrainian defenses in Donbass, Ukrainian forces have undertaken several attempts to break into Russia’s Belgorod and Kursk regions in recent months, only to be “decisively repelled.”

Mercenaries from the Romanian Battlegroup “Getica” claim they participated in the recent spate of attacks on Russian border regions together with the Russian Volunteer Corps. Representatives of the group also published videos of the brazen attacks and shelling of Russian border regions on social media networks. In late February, Radio Romania Actualitati reported that Romanian volunteers were fighting on the side of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and cited Romanian Battlegroup “Getica” and its social media page.

It was noted that the group was formed last September and began its activities by uniting Romanian fighters who were already in various military units and structures of the Ukrainian Army. It was purported that the group unites native Romanian speakers in Ukraine, as well as citizens of Romania and Moldova. The group purportedly engages in recruitment on social networks. The earlier mentioned social media page contains, in particular, an interview with an operational commander of the group, who goes by the name of “GetoTac.” According to the soldier, the group mainly specializes in technology and military intelligence. He also claimed that the Romanian Battlegroup “Getica” is not an official recruiter for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, but unites volunteers. The Romanian community is the third largest ethnic group in Ukraine, after Ukrainians and Russians.

Last week, the Russian military, together with units of the border service of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), thwarted Ukraine’s attempt to break into the Russian border area in the Belgorod and Kursk regions. Russian soldiers and border guards destroyed up to 60 Ukrainian soldiers that tried to infiltrate Russia’s Belgorod region, the Russian Defense Ministry said. “Up to 60 Ukrainian terrorists were destroyed on the border territory from Ukraine in the area of Odnorobovka, three tanks and an armored personnel carrier in the area of Nekhoteevka, and two tanks in the area of Spodaryushino,” the statement said. The week-long campaign to secure the border waged by the Russian military, FSB border troops, and other security forces along the special operation zone resulted in heavy losses for the attacking side, with all assaults “decisively repelled.” On Saturday, the MoD reported a new effort to penetrate the border.

The past 24 hours have witnessed a series of preemptive strikes in Ukrainian territory, including in the Chernigov region, against concentrations of potential sabotage units.”All attempts by sabotage and terrorist gangs consisting of regular enemy units and foreign mercenaries…to break into our territory have failed,” President Vladimir Putin stated on March 19 at a meeting with FSB officials.

The sabotage groups’ goal was to carry out a successful “terrorist raid,” but instead they suffered heavy losses, Putin said. “The most important and intense part of your work today of course is associated with the special military operation. The range of tasks here is the broadest,” Putin said, elaborating that these range from the neutralization of enemy agents, terrorists, and sabotage groups to “successful operations on the front lines and in the enemy’s rear,” as well as “counterintelligence support for military units and formations,” the Russian president underscored.

The Russian military responded with a large-scale campaign of ground and air-based operations to destroy these forces. Thousands of mercenaries from various corners of the world flocked to Kiev’s banners since 2022. Many of these mercs have since fled the Ukrainian conflict, while others have either met their end at the hands of Russian forces or continue to serve as cannon fodder for Kiev and its NATO puppet masters. Furthermore, NATO soldiers under the guise of mercenaries are involved in combat operations in Ukraine, Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoy, head of the Russian General Staff’s Main Operational Directorate, told Russian media. “NATO servicemen are involved in combat operations under the guise of mercenaries. They operate air defense complexes of operational-tactical missiles and multiple rocket launchers, and are part of assault troops,” Rudskoy said. According to him, NATO officers “directly” prepare military operations for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

In the early hours of July 5, 2023, Russia’s Kursk and Belgorod regions came under fire from Ukrainian forces. The attack on the town of Valuyiki in Belgorod lasted more than an hour, resulting in injuries and property damage. Russian defense forces reportedly shot down three air objects, including one drone, and Ukraine forces fired 12 times from Grad rocket launchers. In the Kursk region, a school and a private house were damaged during the attacks​​.

On May 22, 2023, armed groups from Ukraine carried out a cross-border raid into Belgorod Oblast, Russia. Two Russian rebel groups allied with Ukraine — the Freedom of Russia Legion (FRL) and the Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC) — claimed to have taken control of several border settlements during the incursion into Belgorod Oblast, leading to clashes with Russian government forces. This event marked the largest cross-border attack during the conflict since its onset in February 2022. On June 1, another incursion occurred near Shebekino, with the RVC announcing the start of the “second phase” of their campaign. The Freedom of Russia Legion aimed to draw Russian troops away from other frontlines and incite rebellion within Russia. Further cross-border operations were reported in March 2024, highlighting the ongoing tensions and skirmishes in the regions of Belgorod and Kursk​​.

Screenshot of a video provided by the Russian Ministry of Defense showing destroyed equipment of a Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance group that tried to break into Russia’s Belgorod region in the area of ​​the settlement of Spodaryushino. – image Sputnik 

Russia reported that an attack on Belgorod resulted in 21 deaths, describing it as a significant strike from Ukraine. The Belgorod region, crucial for Russian military logistics and operations against Ukraine, has seen repeated drone and rocket attacks. Russia called for a United Nations Security Council meeting to address the incident, framing it as a terrorist act by Kyiv. Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials, without claiming direct responsibility, continue to face large-scale Russian air assaults, leading to significant casualties and damage within Ukraine​​.

Recent activities include pro-Ukrainian armed groups, consisting of Russian volunteers, launching incursions into the Kursk region, capturing the village of Tyotkino, and engaging Russian forces. These actions have led to schools in Kursk transitioning to online classes due to the security situation. The incidents underscore the complex dynamics of cross-border engagements and the involvement of volunteer forces in the ongoing conflict​​.

Throughout these events, both the Belgorod and Kursk regions have experienced frequent drone attacks attributed to Ukrainian forces or associated volunteer groups, with Russia claiming to have downed multiple Ukrainian drones. These skirmishes are part of a broader pattern of cross-border tensions and military engagements that have persisted since the conflict’s outset in February 2022​​.


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