US officials have very belatedly confirmed that the dozens of gunmen who mounted a cross-border attack on Russia's Belgorod from Ukraine on May 22 were using US and other NATO equipment, despite Washington's long-running warnings for Kiev not to allow this to happen.
At least four US-produced MRAPs (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles) were used in the attack, as well as anti-tank weaponry supplied from NATO countries, US officials have told The Washington Post. Three of the MRAPs had been provided directly by the US to Ukrainian national forces while one was given by Poland.
Two militia groups of anti-Kremlin Russians with links to neo-Nazis had claimed credit for the attack, and weren't shy about showing off their US and NATO military hardware.
The US sourcing of the equipment was obvious at the time given the abundance of videos circulating online and even being put out by the very fighters conducting the raids. Russian military video of destroyed equipment also added to the evidence.
At this point, the groups have apparently conducted multiple cross-border raids (most coming in the last two weeks), and their Nazi ties are so well-known and established that Western mainstream press reports can't hide it even as the same media outlets seem to be positively celebrating the Belgorod attack itself--
The Russian Volunteer Corps, or RVC, says it’s made up of Russians fighting on Ukraine’s side and against Putin's government. The group made headlines in March when it claimed to be behind a smaller raid in the Bryansk region.
Its commander, Denis Kapustin, who also goes by the last name of Nikitin, is a white nationalist and ex-soccer hooligan who shares neo-Nazi views.
But in the initial aftermath to the raid, the Biden administration sought to downplay and obfuscate the presence of NATO vehicles and weaponry.
On the very day after the May 22nd attack, when asked about the American military hardware used by the attackers during a daily briefing, State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller didn't flat-out deny the allegations, but merely said the US administration is "skeptical, at this time, of the veracity" of the reports of US-provided weapons used to strike Russia in Belgorod.
"We don’t have perfect clarity of the information, we’re looking at the same fuzzy images [on social media] … at this time we’re skeptical of their veracity," Milller said.
⚡️Video of the preparation of “RDK” militants to break through the border of the Belgorod region.— War Monitor (@WarMonitors) May 22, 2023
The footage shows a convoy of at least 6-7 American International MaxxPro armored vehicles and 2 HMMWVs, as well as other cars.
At the moment, the loss of only one of their MRAP… pic.twitter.com/zlDjnMyyro
But RVC leader Nikitin himself told Financial Times his fighters were armed with MRAPs and US-made Humvees, though he's since tried to backtrack, likely as a result of immense pressure from Kiev and Washington.
Still, the Pentagon Discord leaks show that the Ukrainian government had been secretly planning covert attacks inside Russian territory using irregular militia fighters armed with "various qualitative types of NATO weapons". Anyway it's spun, Uncle Sam was caught red-handed in this instance.