Ukrainian soldiers train on a US-supplied MaxxPro MRAP Navistar mine resistant armored fighting vehicle on October 17, 2022 in Nyzhche Solone, Kharkiv Oblast, Ukraine.
Carl Court/Getty Images
US military vehicles were used for a raid this week inside of Russia, the Financial Times reported.
The head of a far-right militia, the Russian Volunteer Corps, boasted of having several US vehicles.
A Pentagon spokesperson told reporters that Washington is aware of but cannot confirm the claim.
The head of a far-right militia that took part in a shocking raid this week inside Russia claimed on Tuesday that his group had employed US armored vehicles in the attack, an assertion that appears to be supported by photographic evidence.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Denis Nikitin (also known as Denis Kapustin), head of the Russian Volunteer Corps, said his group had in its possession a number of US military vehicles, including armored trucks and Humvees. Although the Ukrainian government has denied any role in Monday’s raid — carried out in conjunction with another group, the Liberty of Russian Legion, which is seen as more mainstream — one Ukrainian military official told the Times that Kyiv had indeed been “cooperating” with such groups.
Nikitin is described by the Anti-Defamation League as “a Russian neo-Nazi” with ties to Ukraine’s far-right Azov movement. After an earlier raid inside Russia, Nikitin, through his fashion brand’s Telegram channel, described his enemy as “the multi-racial and imperialistic Putin regime,” the Telegraph reported.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to the Times, US military vehicles could be seen in videos and photos posted from within Russia, where they appear to have been used in the daring raid on the Belgorod region, located near the border with Ukraine. That raid led to the evacuation of hundreds of civilians in the area, according to Russian authorities who said Tuesday that they had repelled the attack, attributed to a “sabotage-reconnaissance group” using American military hardware.
Under the terms of US military aid, Ukraine is strictly forbidden from transferring American military gear to a third party. At a press briefing Tuesday afternoon, Gen. Pat Ryder, a Pentagon spokesperson, told reporters that the US was aware of but could not confirm reports that American machinery, including M1224 MaxxPro armored vehicles, were used in the attack.
Since January 2021, the US has provided Ukraine with over 500 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles, per the State Department, a class that includes the M1224. It has also provided more than 2,000 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, or Humvees.
“I will say that we can confirm that the US government has not approved any third party transfers of equipment to paramilitary organizations outside the Ukrainian Armed Forces, nor has the Ukrainian government requested any such transfers,” Ryder said. That said, “it’s something we’ll keep a close eye on.”
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