MOSCOW, August 30 (RIA Novosti) - Self-defense forces in southeastern Ukraine are using the captured Soviet equipment that they got at the abandoned warehouses and captured Ukrainian forces' equipment depots, while they do not receive anything from Russia, Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said Saturday in an interview with Slovak television.
“When the USSR collapsed, the Ukrainian territory was replete with millions of guns, mines, artillery systems and other weapons," Antonov said.
“The area where the combat activities are held today, where Kiev leads its punitive operation, is no exception — there were weaponry warehouses which the militia seized," he added.
Antonov also stressed that accusing Russia of alleged weapons supplies to the self-defense forces is wrong.
“Look at what equipment the Ukrainian army has… The same Russian, Soviet weapons. But it does not mean that Russia supplies weapons to the Ukrainian army or the National Guard,” Antonov said.
Some Western countries have accused Russia of sending troops and weapons to independence supporters.
Moscow has repeatedly rejected the accusations that it has been interfering in the situation in Ukraine.
On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated that no evidence of the Russian military being present in Ukraine has ever been presented.
On Thursday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Russian troops had entered Ukraine. The statement came as NATO released satellite images that it claimed showed Russian self-propelled artillery on Ukrainian territory. The alliance said about 1,000 Russian servicemen were taking part in hostilities in eastern Ukraine. Washington failed to verify the information.