BRUSSELS — Belgium is opening an investigation into whether weapons it sent to Ukraine have been used by pro-Ukraine Russian paramilitaries to launch attacks in Russia’s Belgorod region, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said Monday.
“We have asked our intelligence and military services to analyze this,” De Croo told public broadcaster RTBF, after an investigation from the Washington Post released over the weekend showed that members of pro-Ukraine Russian volunteer groups carried Belgian-made SCAR assault rifles during an assault on Russian towns.
“We are asking the Ukrainians to clarify the situation,” De Croo said, adding he was not able to confirm the information.
“But the rule is clear: Our weapons that are provided to Ukraine are naturally [intended] for defensive purposes of the Ukrainian territory,” De Croo added.
In January, Belgium approved its largest military aid package to Ukraine to date, worth €90 million. The package included SCAR assault rifles, manufactured by the publicly owned Belgian arms company FN Herstal, which belongs to the Wallonia region.
The Washington Post investigation released Saturday identified footage showing fighters from the Legion of Free Russia and the Russian Volunteer Corps using Western-made weapons and vehicles while raiding Russian villages.
The two paramilitary groups have made several incursions in recent weeks into Russia’s Belgorod region which borders Ukraine, engaging in combat with Russian troops.
Russia claims Kyiv is behind these attacks, which the Ukrainian authorities have denied.