Russia bases its legal position on the assertion that the militants in the Donbas found weapons by themselves: allegedly, the weapons were old Soviet, or abandoned by the fleeing Ukrainian army.
This was stated by Russian representative Ilya Rogachyov during the hearing on the Ukrainian lawsuit in the Hague.
“The main source of weapons for the rebels (according to the terminology used by the representative of the Russian Federation) was the reserves from the Soviet times on the territory of Ukraine. Most of these reserves were left in the mines of Donbas, where they were found by the rebels,” he said.
“In addition, most of it was abandoned by the fleeing Ukrainian army,” the Russian diplomat added.
Rogachyov did not comment on the evidence presented by the Ukrainian side that militants were using the latest weapons that is only used in the Russian army.
It is also worth noting that the main storage of old Soviet weapons in the Donbas is located in the town of Bakhmut (former Artemivsk). In 2014 militants tried to seize the military base in Artemivsk for a long time, but met resistance and failed to enter the territory.