The Russian government has begun arming volunteer citizens in the Belgorod region in order to enhance border security after the oblast along the border with Ukraine has come under frequent attack throughout the war.
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed the 'controversial' measure in a press briefing, saying it is being done in accordance with the law. "These measures are necessary because of the attacks coming from Ukrainian territory," he stressed.
The practice of utilizing 'national defense units' of volunteer citizens has long been seen in conflict zones like Syria and Iraq. Members often undergo very brief basic weapons training, or they are prior service veterans, and they sometimes man check points or assist in searching vehicles or look out for suspicious activities.
At one point in the presser Peskov was asked about government-issued weaponry falling into the wrong hands...
"Weapons are never outside of control. All control mechanisms should certainly be provided for and carefully implemented. In fact, there is no doubt that this is the case," he responded.
Belgorod Region Governor Vyacheclav Gladkov said the decision had been made to approve weaponry like automatic rifles, anti-drone guns, and military enhanced SUVs.
National media sources have identified that Belgorod's Territorial Defense force has some 3,000 members. The force has undergone formal training by the military, reports say.
Not only has Belgorod been subject of frequent drone and cross-border rocket attacks, but there has even been two major instances of ground raids by armed militants. Energy and other vital infrastructure facilities are often attacked by drones, but there's been mounting civilian casualties as residential buildings are sometimes attacked.
Villages have been attacked, and pro-Kiev extremists have tried to "liberate" Russian territory. If "unlimited war" is unleashed--and it looks like that's where things are headed--there will likely be more such border clashes between irregular militia forces on both sides.