Russian media published a video showing that the pro-Ukrainian armed group used American armored and mine-resistant vehicles to cross the border to attack Belgorod province.
Russian news agency RIA Novosti released a video on May 23 of a number of US-made armored vehicles destroyed or seized after an operation to repel a pro-Ukrainian militia group that attacked in the Graivoron district of Belgorod province.
This armed group, using many armored military vehicles, crossed the border, ambushed the Kozinka border post and many civilian facilities on May 22, killing a Russian border guard and injuring 12 others. They then advanced deep into Russian territory, before being stopped by the Russian military in a full-scale “anti-terrorist” operation.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense claimed to have killed 70 “Ukrainian terrorists”, destroying many of the armed group’s armored vehicles and pickup trucks.
Based on images published by Russian media, experts from the open-source intelligence website Oryx and Weapons Tracker Ukraine have determined that this number of armored vehicles includes at least two M1224 MaxxPro mine-resistant vehicles, three armored vehicles and transport vehicles. . At least one Ukrainian KrAZ Cobra armored vehicle and a Polish-made AMZ Dzik-2 were also destroyed in the fighting.
Two pro-Ukrainian armed militia groups, the Russian Volunteer Army (RVC) and the Russian Freedom Corps (FRL), claimed responsibility for the cross-border attack in Belgorod province. In a Twitter post, RVC appeared to confirm their withdrawal and stated that they “will be back someday”.
Armed group suspected of using US tanks to attack Russian territory
American-made armor is destroyed at a border checkpoint in the Russian province of Belgorod in a video released on May 23. Video: Ria Novosti
Denis Nikitin, leader of the RVC, confirmed that his forces used many US-made military vehicles, but declined to reveal how they obtained them. This move seems to embarrass the Pentagon, especially when it has repeatedly stated that it does not allow Ukraine to use US weapons to attack Russian territory.
“We have seen the information and are following it closely. I can confirm that the US government has not approved the transfer of weapons to paramilitary organizations outside the Ukrainian army, nor has the Ukrainian government approved this is something we need to pay attention to,” said the port -Pentagon Spokesperson Pat Ryder.
Ukrainian officials insist the country has “no relation” to the armed group that attacked Belgorod province, claiming they were Russian citizens acting on their own initiative. However, the spokesman of the General Department of Defense Intelligence of Ukraine Andriy Chernyak on May 24 acknowledged that Kiev cooperates with groups such as RVC and FRL.
Location of areas in the Russian province of Belgorod attacked by armed groups from Ukraine. Graphics: FT
“We communicate and share information, we even coordinate with them,” Chernyak said, but he denied that Ukraine had transferred military equipment to these groups. “All western weapons on the payroll of the Ukrainian armed forces are strictly controlled as much as possible.”
US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Ukraine had the right to decide on its own methods of warfare, but stressed that the US was opposed to an attack on Russian territory. “We made it clear to the Kiev side that Washington does not support or encourage them to launch an offensive operation beyond Ukraine’s borders,” he said.
Vu Anh (according to the Financial Times)