Kiev had pledged not to use Western-supplied weapons in Russia, PM Alexander De Croo reminded, after a recent exposé indicated a breach FILE PHOTO: Prime Minister of Belgium Alexander De Croo. © Nicolas Economou / NurPhoto via Getty Images
Belgium supplied weapons to Ukraine under a “very strict” rule prohibiting their use on Russian soil, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo explained after a Kiev-backed militia armed with Belgian FN SCAR rifles conducted a cross-border raid in Belgorod Region.
“Let’s first try to check things carefully and see if the origin of these weapons is indeed the donations that Belgium made in the context of the defense of Ukrainian territory,” the Belgian leader added. Speaking to RTBF television on Monday, he said the country’s intelligence services and the military were investigating the situation.
The government in Brussels was placed in an awkward position over a May 22 incursion into Russia by two Kiev-backed armed groups, the ‘Freedom of Russia Legion’ and the ‘Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK)’.
Images from the raid, which were examined by the Washington Post, showed the militants using hardware produced by several NATO members, including the US, Poland, Czech Republic, and Belgium. The Post’s sources suggested the weapons originated from the troves of arms supplied to Kiev by Western nations.
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Belgium will demand clarifications from Ukraine about the evidence, according to reports in the country’s press. A government source said that donated arms were not “authorized for isolated groups which have an internal Russian agenda.”
The two militia groups, which adhere to far-right ideology, seek to topple the Russian government, according to their statements. RDK leader Denis Nikitin, who goes by the moniker ‘WhiteRex’, is a notorious international neo-Nazi figure.
Moscow considers the militias to be terrorists, citing their record of targeting civilians in a series of cross-border attacks this year.
Leonid Slutsky, the leader of Russia’s LDPR party, described Brussels’ reaction to the Post revelations as pearl-clutching after a predictable breach of trust by Kiev.
“The demand for clarification from their own puppets is a pathetic attempt to distance themselves from their involvement in the Ukrainian conflict,” the lawmaker said. Western nations have “long become” sponsors of terrorism, Slutsky maintained.