Russian Ruling Party Wants to Arm Separatists in Ukraine: Shouldn’t Leave These People to the Mercy of Kyiv
The ruling United Russia party leader wants the Kremlin to send weapons to pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
This should enable them to defend themselves in their two republics, Lugansk and Donetsk, against the Western-backed government army of Ukraine, said United Russia leader Vladimir Vasilyev in the Russian House of Commons.
“We call on the leaders of our country to assist the republics of Lugansk and Donetsk in the form of supplies of necessary military products to deter aggression,” Vasilyev said. “We have had consultations on this subject, and we have decided that we should not leave these people at the mercy of the Kyiv regime.”
The appeal is in response to military aid from Western countries to assist the Ukrainian army as more than 100,000 Russian soldiers have gathered on the Ukrainian border. Western countries fear it will come to an attack, although diplomatic talks are still underway to avert the crisis.
Moscow says it has no plans for an attack but does want a guarantee that Ukraine will not become a member of NATO and that Western troops will withdraw from the Baltic states, Bulgaria and Romania, among others.
Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014 and supported pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. The conflict there has already claimed more than 13,000 lives. The Kremlin has so far denied sending weapons across the border. However, Parliament is now being asked to supply defensive weaponry to the separatists.
US Vice Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said he saw signs that Russia would take military action between now and mid-February.