Russian militia groups receive arms to protect border along Ukraine

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Local militia groups in two Russian regions bordering Ukraine were provided with weapons on Wednesday to defend their territory from Ukrainian attacks, local officials said.

The militias were created in the two Russian regions last December to assist the armed forces, National Guard and police.

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The governor of Russia’s western Kursk region said his territorial militia had received their first batch of weapons, while state media reported that units in Belgorod region had received weapons.

Both regions have reported repeated drone strikes and shelling from Ukraine’s armed forces.

“The Kursk region is experiencing terrorist attacks from Ukraine on an almost daily basis,” Kursk Governor Roman Starovoit said in a post on social media.

“The first batch [of weapons] has already arrived at the base. In the near future we will increase the number of weapons up to 300 units,” he added.

As Russia presses ahead with its full-scale military campaign in Ukraine, Moscow’s ability to protect its own border from external threats has come into doubt.

In May and June, pro-Ukrainian militants calling themselves Russian partisans crossed the border into Russia’s Belgorod region, clashing with security forces.

And during a brief mutiny, members of Russia’s private Wagner mercenary group managed to advance to within 400 kilometers (250 miles) of the capital Moscow in late June before turning back.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the transfer of weapons in Belgorod region was controlled and necessary to repel attacks from Ukraine.

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