© RIA Novosti/Ramil Sitdikov
Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Anatoly Antonov
Russia is not
waging war in Ukraine's east, and is not
supplying rebels with military equipment, according to Russian deputy defense minister Anatoly Antonov. The anti-Kiev forces get their arms at old Soviet storages - same as government troops do
"Surely, Russia doesn't wage any war. Vladimir Putin's policy is aimed at not allowing the situation to develop according to the worst-case scenario.
There are, unfortunately, forces that try to push two peoples against each other to start a real war between Russia and Ukraine," Antonov said, speaking with journalists in Slovakia.
Addressing the claims that Russia supplies weapons to the eastern Ukrainian self-defense forces, he explained where the militia may get their weaponry from.
"First, one shouldn't forget that Ukraine used to be a part of the Soviet Union. There were many weapon storages on the territory of the Soviet Union
, so when Ukraine and Russia became independent states, clearly some storages remained on Ukrainian territory.
"Currently, in the region engulfed by this disaster, by the bloodshed, where the "punishment" operation is being carried out by Kiev against its own people, some of these storages have been seized by the self-defense forces
. That's why saying that Russians supplied the weapons to Lugansk and Donetsk is simply incorrect. Look at the Ukrainian army's weaponry. It's fighting with the Russian weapons
- or, more precisely, with Soviet weapons," Antonov said.
Another source is operational trophies
, the deputy defense minister said. "The self-defense forces seize large amounts of National Guard's and the Ukrainian army's weapons. Hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers fled into Russia, leaving the weapons they used to own
," he added.