Russian official hints at arming rebels in Ukraine
State Duma first deputy says Moscow must respond to NATO weapons deliveries to Ukraine by arming eastern breakaway regions
Russia must "provide support" to Ukraine's breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk "in the form of supplies of certain types of weapons" to strengthen their defense and deter an attack by the Ukrainian army, a senior Russian official said on Wednesday.
Speaking in the lower chamber of Russia's parliament, the State Duma, First Deputy Chairman Andrey Turchak underlined that NATO has been delivering weapons to Ukraine in recent months, adding that "only this year and only from the US and the UK, dozens of flights were carried out to Ukraine."
"NATO countries do not deny themselves that they are doing that. Moreover, under this preposition, so-called instructors keep coming to Ukraine -- NATO's professional military," he said.
Among other purposes, they are preparing Ukraine's troops to conduct military operations in the urban areas, alleged Turchak, adding that the amount of gunfire in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions "has increased tenfold."
Claiming that "curators" from the West were pressuring Kyiv to order the invasion of the Donbas region, he said that in this situation, Moscow should provide Donetsk and Luhansk with "deliveries of separate kinds of weapons to increase their defense capabilities and hold back the obviously prepared Kyiv military aggression."