Many people attend a vigil for Ukrainian spies slain in Russia

Four men, one of whom was still a teenager, were slain in December during an assault into Russia’s southern Bryansk region. Mourners, many of whom were wearing camouflage and hiding their faces, attended a service in a central church.

The men, according to Russia’s FSB security force, were armed with weapons and explosives when they were murdered. Their bodies were reportedly delivered this month, according to Russian media.

The flag of a nationalist brigade called Bratstvo, or Brotherhood, founded on the foundation of a party with the same name, was draped over the coffins of the men.

They were in “one of the reconnaissance sabotage groups of Bratstvo that take part in raids at the enemy’s rear, both in the occupied territories… and on Russian soil,” the leader of the Brotherhood party Dmytro Korchynsky told AFP outside the church.

They were killed during one of those raids.”

Crowds then came to pay final respects to the dead soldiers on Kyiv's central Independence Square
Crowds then came to pay final respects to the dead soldiers on Kyiv’s central Independence Square © Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP

Korchynsky said the battalion when in Russia acts “at its own risk” and does not coordinate with Kyiv’s armed forces.

Crowds then came to pay final respects to the men — 34-year-old Yuriy Gorovets, 32-year-old Maksym Mykhailov, 34-year-old Taras Karpiuk and 19-year-old Bogdan Lyagov — on Kyiv’s central Independence Square.

‘Blowing things up’

Ukraine’s armed forces officially do not fight against Moscow beyond the country’s borders.

There have however been major incidents including an explosion in October on a bridge Russia built to annexed Crimea.

Hundreds packed into the Kyiv church for the funerals
Hundreds packed into the Kyiv church for the funerals © Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP

Belarusian opposition activists announced late February that partisans had destroyed a Russian military plane near the capital Minsk.

Last week Moscow claimed “Ukrainian nationalists” had crossed into the Bryansk region and killed two civilians, while Kyiv dismissed the allegation as a “deliberate provocation”.

Korchynsky said Bratstvo carries out various types of operations including “blowing things up

The four guys who were slain “passed past the border guards and went deeper into Russian territory where they were detected and engaged in fighting with the enemy,” he claimed.

“The Russians claim that they (the Ukrainians) were surrounded and were provided a chance to submit,” he added, calling any refusal to surrender “typical for us”.

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