The U.S. is “skeptical” that American-provided military equipment to Ukraine was used in an outbreak of fighting in the Russian territory of Belgorod, the State Department said Tuesday, adding that Washington does not encourage or enable Ukraine to strike inside of Russia.
State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said the administration is “skeptical, at this time, of the veracity” of reports that U.S.-provided weapons to Ukraine were used in an apparent uprising by Russian opposition forces in the southern territory of Belgorod, which borders Ukraine.
“We don’t have perfect clarity of the information, we’re looking at the same fuzzy images [on social media] … at this time we’re skeptical of their veracity,” he said.
Russia on Tuesday reportedly said that it had killed dozens of “Ukrainian nationalists” over the course of a two-day uprising by apparent Russian opposition groups.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense wrote on Telegram that it had used air strikes and artillery fire, that it had killed 70 “Ukrainian terrorists, four armored fighting vehicles and five pickup trucks.”
While the U.S. is the top supplier to Ukraine of military equipment since Russia launched its full-scale invasion against the country in February 2022, the Biden administration has handicapped munitions and warned Kyiv against striking inside Russian territory with American-provided weapons.
“We don’t encourage or enable attacks outside Ukraine’s borders,” Miller said, but added that the decision making on battlefield operations rests with Ukraine.
“I do think it’s important to step back and always remember that it is Russia who is the aggressor here, it is Russia… that is launching attacks on civilian infrastructure, Russia that is bombing civilian targets, its taking out schools and hospitals and killing civilians by the thousands. So we’ll leave it to our Ukrainian partners on how to conduct this war.”