BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgium is investigating whether weapons it sent to help Ukraine defend its territory were used in fighting just across the border following a report according to which equipment produced by a Belgian company would have ended up in the Russian region of Belgorod.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo on Monday warned against jumping to conclusions, as expeditions over decades and different regions can turn up weapons in unexpected places.
“The defense and information services have launched an investigation to be absolutely sure of what happened there,” De Croo told Belgian TV channel VRT.
The Washington Post carried numerous reports over the weekend saying that weapons from some NATO member countries, including the United States, Poland, Czechia and Belgium, had appeared in Belgorod, which borders the ‘Ukraine.
The Post report casts doubt on whether proper controls are in place in Ukraine. De Croo said European Union countries provided Ukraine with weapons on the condition that the weapons would only be used in the invaded country to defend its territory.
“The rule is very strict,” the prime minister said, as Russia would likely view the use of weapons outside Ukraine as a Western provocation.
Although there may be “a leak of our weapons to other conflicts”, De Croo said that if it were true that weapons intended to defend Ukraine were used in the fighting in Russia, “we would take this very seriously”.
The Washington Post said its story was about a cross-border raid by the Free Russian Legion and Russian Volunteer Corps militias, which oppose Russian President Vladimir Putin. The latter group claims to include Russians fighting alongside Ukraine.
Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine