Posted BY: AntiWar.com
US officials confirmed to The Washington Post that US and other NATO equipment was used in a cross-border attack in Russia’s Belgorod region that was launched on May 22.
The fighters used at least four US-made Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, known as MRAPs. The Post report said that three of the MRAPs were provided to Ukraine by the US, and one was provided by Poland.
The fighters were also armed with rifles made by Belgium and the Czech Republic and at least one Swedish-made AT-4 anti-tank weapon. AT-4s are used by the US military, and the US has shipped them to Ukraine.
The attack was claimed by two groups of Russian volunteers who have been fighting for Kyiv, the Russian Volunteer Corps and the Legion of Free Russia. The Russian Volunteer Corps includes members who are open neo-Nazis and white nationalists, including its leader, Denis Nikitin.
Nikitin told Financial Times shortly after the raid that his fighters were armed with MRAPs and US-made Humvees. His group has since claimed they were not using American weapons, likely over backlash from Kyiv as the US has reiterated that it doesn’t want Ukraine using American weapons on Russian territory. The US restriction does not apply to Crimea.
Since the May 22 attack, the Russian volunteer groups have claimed more raids in Belgorod. On Sunday, Russian authorities said Ukrainian saboteurs had infiltrated the village of Novaya Tavolzhanka in Belgorod, and the Russian Volunteer Corps claimed they captured Russian soldiers in the area.
Kyiv has tried to distance itself from the Russian volunteers. But according to The Times of London, Discord leaks show Ukraine had been planning attacks on Russian territory using Russian volunteer groups for some time. One document said the Russian citizens fighting for Ukraine are armed with “various qualitative types of NATO weapons.”