Mon, 25 Sep 2023

Russia warns Belgium over militia weapons claims
07 Jun 2023, 17:17 GMT+10

The Russian Foreign Ministry has urged Brussels not to ignore Kiev's ?terrorist links?

The Russian Foreign Ministry has summoned Belgium's ambassador in Moscow over claims that Ukraine-based far-right militias used firearms produced in the EU nation in a recent cross-border raid.

The ministry issued a "strong protest" to Mar? Michielsen when the Belgian envoy visited on Tuesday, it said in a statement. Russia "has repeatedly warned of the danger of flooding the Ukrainian army with Western weapons and military vehicles," citing the risk of their diversion to terrorists, it added.

"We have urged Brussels not to turn a blind eye to the multiple pieces of evidence of the support by the Kiev regime of terrorists, who target the peaceful population and civilian infrastructure in the Russian Federation," the ministry said.

The raid in question happened on May 22 and involved Kiev-backed militias crossing into Russia's Belgorod Region. The force was armed with weapons produced by several NATO members, including the US, Poland, the Czech Republic and Belgium, images posted online indicated.

The Washington Post reported on the armaments in an expose last week. Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said his government was investigating, but urged against jumping to conclusions.

"Let's first try to check things carefully and see if the origin of these weapons is indeed the [Belgian] donations," he told the media.

Brussels said Kiev had pledged not to use weapons received from Belgium for attacks on Russian soil. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky vowed this week that his government was keeping its promise.

Ukraine's Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) claimed that the militias were "autonomous" and had obtained Western weapons as "trophies." Russia has accused the Ukrainian agency of staging a number of terrorist attacks on its soil, including bombings and assassinations.


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