The leader of the United Russia party in the Duma, Vladimir Vasilyev, has asked the Kremlin to supply the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics in eastern Ukraine with military aid.
First Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council and Secretary of the General Council of United Russia Andrey Turchak has said that Russia must give the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LNR) the necessary assistance, “in the form of different types of weaponry.”
The question arises as to what types of weapons and military equipment could be delivered to the republics that broke away from Ukraine following the 2014 Maidan, when mass protests ousted former president Viktor Yanukovych, and whether or not this would be a restraining factor in a hypothetical armed conflict with Ukraine.
According to some reports,the DPR and LPR at this stage have at their disposal over 600 tanks, significantly more than a thousand infantry fighting vehicles (IFV), over 500 pieces of artillery, and more than 250 multiple rocket launchers (MRL). There are about 30,000 troops in the republics.
These seem like significant numbers, but if the 255,000-strong Ukrainian army starts an offensive, the DPR and LPR units won’t be able to hold it off. The general opinion is that if tensions rise in the Donbass, the self-proclaimed republics will need the help of Russia’s army.