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Arms supplies to Kiev not in line with Arms Trade Treaty — Russian diplomat

Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokesman says not only the US but a whole range of European states are involved in arms supplies to Kiev

MOSCOW, March 5. /TASS/. The weapons supplies to Kiev contradict the Arms Trade Treaty that became effective last year, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokesman, Alexander Lukashevich, said on Thursday.

"Not only the United States, but a whole range of European states, which unexpectedly emerged in this field, and in particular Finland [showed up in weapons supplies issue to Ukraine]," Lukashevich said.

"We responded rather sharply and publicly to the plans of supplies of some equipment to Ukraine which can be used in carrying out combat actions," the diplomat said.

This policy contradicts those commitments undertaken by the countries that plan or already supply weapons to Ukraine, he said. "This is incompatible with the particular provisions of the Arms Trade Treaty," the diplomat said.

The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) came into force in late December, 2014. The treaty has been ratified by 63 states, while a further 67 states have signed but not ratified it.

Lukashevich stressed that the US plans for weapons supplies to Kiev pose a threat to Russia’s security.

"The reports of the US plans to begin massive weapons supplies to Ukraine arouse the most serious concerns at the Russian Foreign Ministry," the diplomat said.

This comes amid "the successful compliance with the agreements on the ceasefire in Donbas" reached as the result of the February 12 agreements in Minsk at the Normandy Four leaders’ summit.

"The weapons supplies could not only lead to undermining the truce and also to a new escalation in the southeast, but also threaten the security of Russia, as we have stated many times," Lukashevich said.

Russia’s territory has been shelled many times from the Ukrainian side, he reminded.

The US Congress is even considering a special bill on providing Ukraine with $1 billion for equipping and training forces, the diplomat said.

"It is impossible to extinguish the fire of a civil war by weapons. This can be done only through a political dialogue between the warring parties," Lukashevich said.

The diplomat also warned Washington that the Russia-US bilateral relations could be significantly damaged if "the citizens of Donbass start being killed with the use of the US weapons."