Russians who live near the Ukrainian border were alarmed to see a militia launch an attack on their neighborhoods. Now, their leaders say the fighters used vehicles that were made in the US. They say Western involvement in the conflict is "growing by the day."
Russian defense officials claim "Ukrainian nationalists" crossed the border on Monday before hitting targets in the Belgorod region. Ukrainian authorities have denied any involvement.
The Russians say they killed more than 70 fighters and pushed the remainder back where they came from. They added that their troops destroyed four armored vehicles.
On Tuesday, they released video of models they say are US-made, including Humvee military trucks.
Russian militias opposed to President Vladimir Putin have claimed responsibility for the attack. One leader said on Wednesday that they just used vehicles they managed to seize in previous operations.
Denis Kapustin, the commander of the Russian Volunteer Corps, said, "You can buy those armored vehicles on the black market as well as on the private market. This is nothing super-secret."
Officials at the Pentagon contend that they have not approved the transfer of equipment to paramilitary groups.
On Tuesday, US Defense Department Press Secretary Patrick Ryder said, "The United States has communicated regularly with Ukraine that the security assistance that we're providing them is for them to use inside Ukraine."
The militia leaders have warned that they will soon launch more raids. Russian officials said they will respond to any attacks swiftly and "extremely harshly."