Russian Telegram channels began to spread their own version of the developments during the operation carried out by the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine in Nova Kakhovka.
According to the version of Russian propagandists, on the night of January 24-25, the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine conducted an "unsuccessful raid" in the rear of Russian troops in Nova Kakhovka and "used Belarusian mercenaries in the group of fire cover of the Armed Forces of Ukraine." In addition, the "Belarusian Volunteer Corps" [part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine] allegedly suffered "critical, irreversible personnel losses", three of its fighters are considered missing and this is connected with desertion, and Rodion "Gena" Batulin, the commander of the "Terror" battalion [part of the Belarusian Volunteer Corps], is seriously wounded.
This version is fake. First, the propagandists confused even the date of the operation. As it is known from the official Facebook page of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, the raid took place on the night of January 23-24, not January 24-25. It is also clear from the post that the Directorate’s special unit did complete the task with the support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Russians suffered considerable losses.
In addition, the Directorate provided a photo showing the result of the raid.
Second, the Belarusian Volunteer Corps representatives also called the version of Russian propagandists complete nonsense.
"There are losses, but not as significant as the Russian ones. As for the missing persons and desertion cases, it’s nonsense. "Gena" was wounded, his condition is stable," the Corps told Ukrinform.
It is also worth emphasizing that representatives of the Belarusian Volunteer Corps are not mercenaries, as the Russian Federation claims. They are combatants because they are part of the armed forces of a warring country. In addition, the participation of mercenaries in military operations is prohibited in Ukraine. In particular, according to Paragraph 4 of Article 447 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, the participation of a mercenary in an armed conflict, military or violent actions is punishable by five to ten years in prison.
It is not the first time that the Russians spread disinformation about volunteer formations subordinate to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. In November, they ramped up a fake that 5,000 Polish "mercenaries" were allegedly stationed in Zaporizhzhia region alone, but this was also refuted.