Russia reportedly has sent additional military equipment and vehicles to its separatist proxies in Eastern Ukraine.
On Wednesday, Russia-backed rebels TV channel released video footage that it said showed a new batch of UAZ Patriot light utility vehicles and heavy machine guns donated by Russia.
The UAZ Patriot is a Russian light utility vehicle. It was introduced in 2005. A facelifted version is produced since 2015. Originally it was developed as a civilian vehicle. However this utilitarian and affordable vehicle, yet with good cross-country capability, is also used by the military.
The UAZ Patriot has been exported to Armenia, Syria, and to other Russian satellite countries.
This type of tactical vehicle has never been in service with the Ukrainian army.
Russian state-owned enterprises and Ministry f Defense are among the biggest suppliers of arms and military equipment to the Russian-backed separatists in temporarily occupied territories in eastern Ukraine.
The Kremlin views Ukraine’s European choice as a major security threat and the 2014 overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych as Western-backed and aimed at isolating Russia. It wants to keep Ukraine under its pro-Western leadership unstable, embroiled in open-ended military confrontation it cannot afford, so as to return it eventually to its sphere of influence.
According to crisisgroup.org, almost 10,000 have died in the conflict, and tens of thousands of troops face each other along a 500-km line of separation.