Russia claims UK weapons being used for attacks in Ukraine, Donbass

London is supporting Kiev in an attempt to boost its role in NATO and Europe, according to a high-ranking Russian diplomat.

Ukrainian forces are actively using weapons supplied by Britain to carry out terrorist attacks against Russian regions, according to Foreign Ministry official Sergey Belyaev. London remains one of the largest donors of weaponry to Kiev, providing £7.1 billion ($8.9 billion) in assistance since the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict in February 2022, Belyaev, who heads the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second European Department, said in an interview with TASS news agency, published on Saturday. “UK-supplied weapons are being actively used by the Ukrainian military in terrorist attacks on civilian infrastructure and the civilian population of Donbass, as well as other Russian regions,” he stated. According to the diplomat, last month’s announcement by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of a £500 million ($617 million) military aid package for Ukraine was an attempt by Britain to gain a more prominent role in NATO and among European countries. “The British acted in a similar manner when they began deliveries of Storm Shadow cruise missiles and Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine,” becoming one of the first countries to provide Kiev with such types of hardware, he explained.

Belyaev noted that Russian diplomats have repeatedly warned their British counterparts that support for Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s government is “harmful” and “leads to further escalation and casualties among the civilian population.” “London’s abandonment of its confrontational course,” including sanctions, “is a necessary condition for the restoration of bilateral political, trade and economic ties” with Moscow, he said. The strained relationship between Russia and Britain deteriorated further last week after Foreign Secretary David Cameron said Ukraine has the “right” to use UK-provided weaponry to strike targets deep inside Russia, if it decides to do so. The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned British Ambassador in Moscow Nigel Casey following Cameron’s remarks. “Casey was warned that the response to Ukrainian strikes using British weapons on Russian territory could be any British military facilities and equipment on the territory of Ukraine and beyond,” the ministry said in a statement following the meeting.

Earlier this week, the UK announced that it would expel a Russian defense attaché, described as an “undeclared military intelligence officer,” and strip some Russia-owned properties in the country of their diplomatic status. Moscow pledged “an appropriate response.”