Mon, Jun 5, 2023 4:26 AM
BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgium is investigating whether weapons it sent to help Ukraine defend its territory were used in fighting just over the border following a news report that said equipment produced by a Belgian company turned up around Russia's Belgorod region.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo warned Monday against jumping to any hasty conclusions since shipments over decades and different regions can make arms turn up in unexpected places.
“Defense and information services started a probe to be absolutely sure what happened there,” De Croo told Belgian broadcaster VRT.
The Washington Post published extensive reporting over the weekend saying that arms from some NATO member countries, including the United States, Poland, Czechia and Belgium, had appeared in Belgorod, which borders Ukraine.
The Post's report cast doubt on whether Ukraine had proper controls in place. De Croo said European Union nations supplied Ukraine with weapons on the condition the arms were used only within the invaded country to defend its territory.
“The rule is very strict,” the prime minister said, since Russia would likely see the use of the weapons outside Ukraine as Western provocation.
While there could be “leakage of our weapons to other conflicts,” De Croo said if there was any truth that arms destined to defend Ukraine were used in fighting in Russia, “we would take that extremely seriously.”
The Washington Post said its article involved a cross-border raid by the Legion of Free Russia and the Russian Volunteer Corps militias, which oppose Russian President Vladimir Putin. The latter group purports to include Russians who are fighting on Ukraine's side.
Follow AP's coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine