Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russian militants in Donbas receive military equipment from countries that "sympathize with them."
"With regard to the withdrawal of foreign troops [from Donbas] – there are no foreign troops, there are local self-defense forces there - they consist of local residents," Putin said, answering an UNIAN correspondent's question.
"I'm constantly being asked this question: where do they get tanks and heavy artillery? Listen, in many hot spots around the world there are various kinds of conflicts and military campaigns, including with the use of tanks, artillery, and so on. Where does this come from? Apparently, from those structures and states who sympathize with them, but this is their equipment, not foreign. I'd like to draw attention to that," Putin stressed.
It should be noted that the war-torn eastern regions of Ukraine have no land borders with any other country but Russia.
Also, Putin said there are foreign mercenaries fighting in Donbas. According to the Russian president, French and German nationals are fighting on both sides of the contact line.
At the same time, Putin said foreigners were not the base of armed groups.