Russia Complains That West Arms Ukraine As Putin’s Troops Leave Heavy Weapons

  • Throughout the war, Russia has repeatedly complained about Western countries arming Ukraine.
  • Putin and other senior Kremlin officials have warned that this could draw the West into direct conflict.
  • Ukrainian advances, meanwhile, have led them to claim a vast amount of abandoned Russian weapons.
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During Russia’s war in Ukraine, which has dragged on for over seven months and has no immediate end in sight, Kyiv has received tons of military aid from a number of Western countries – including billions of dollars in arms and other aid from the US. But Ukraine also gets a lot of weapons from the enemy.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and other senior Russian officials have long complained about the West and the decision to arm Ukraine. They have made little attempt to hide this frustration, even threatening escalation and warning that the conflict could widen.

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But as Ukrainian forces continue their week-long counteroffensive, advancing along the north-eastern front of the war and to the south, retreating Russian troops have left behind mountains of weapons, equipment and ammunition.

A photo shows military uniforms, lunch boxes and a large number of ammunition belonging to Russian forces after Russian forces withdrew from the village of Nova Gusarivka during the Russo-Ukrainian war on April 21.

A photo shows military uniforms, lunch boxes and a large number of ammunition belonging to Russian forces after Russian forces withdrew from the village of Nova Gusarivka during the Russo-Ukrainian war on April 21.

Agency Metin Aktas/Anadolu via Getty Images



According to a new Wall Street Journal report citing open-source intelligence, Ukraine’s recent capture of all of these Russian weapons — in addition to what they saw when Putin’s troops pulled out of areas near Ukraine’s capital Kyiv in the Spring captured – Russia transformed into Ukraine’s largest supplier of heavy weapons.

According to the report, this observation is based purely on the quantity and not on the quality of the weapons. Among the weapons left behind are tanks and other armor, artillery pieces, and various firearms.

In the early days of Ukraine’s lightning-fast offensive in the northeastern Kharkiv region, Russian troops left behind so many weapons and ammunition that Ukrainian forces struggled to deal with them. Some Russians left their positions in a hurry, abandoning their rifles and stealing bicycles to escape.

In addition to what Ukrainian troops have received from fleeing Russian units, they continue to be supplied by Western countries, much to the dismay of the Kremlin leadership.

Back in January, before Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, as his troops gathered at the border, the Russian leader called on the US and its allies and partners to stop arming Ukraine. In the spring, Russia warned of “unforeseeable consequences” if the United States continued to supply arms to Ukraine. In the summer, Putin threatened to attack new targets in Ukraine if the West armed the eastern European country with long-range weapons.

Last month, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the US would cross a “red line” if it sent long-range missiles to Ukraine. And just this week, after the Biden administration announced a new $625 million military aid package for Kyiv, two Russian diplomats said the move could bring Russia closer to a direct war with the West.

Senior Western officials and heads of state have shown no obvious signs that they will halt arms sales to Ukraine.

“The United States will continue to provide Ukraine with weapons and equipment to meet its urgent battlefield needs while building Ukraine’s enduring strength to defend its sovereignty over the long term,” said the deputy deputy defense minister for Russia Ukraine and Eurasia Laura Cooper told reporters at a Tuesday briefing.

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