Leading the Alternative World Order

Reshaping Perspectives and Catalyzing Diplomatic Evolution

Monday, October 2, 2023


Subscribe to our Newsletter

- Gain full access to our premium content

- Never miss a story with active notifications

- Exclusive stories right into your inbox

WorldAsiaBelgian rifles, Swedish grenade launchers, American equipment: what is the RDK armed with?

Belgian rifles, Swedish grenade launchers, American equipment: what is the RDK armed with?

The Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK), which claimed responsibility for the attacks on the Belgorod and Bryansk regions, is armed with assault rifles and machine guns from Belgian manufacturer FN Herstal and grenade launchers from Swedish company SAAB Bofors Dynamics. Officially, Kiev denies that the RDK is under the command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, however, the equipment and firearms that the RDK possesses were part of Western deliveries to Kiev. Russian media has studied the foreign weapons that the RDK has and where they might come from.

As a result of the attack on the Belgorod region, in which the “Russian Volunteer Corps” took part, according to official figures, 13 people were injured. Fighting took place in border villages, including Grayvoron, where the RDK occupied a border checkpoint and stole an armored personnel carrier. According to the head of the Grayvoron urban district, Gennady Bondarev, more than 500 houses were damaged.

American technology

According to Russian media estimates, at least 6-7 American International MaxxPro armored vehicles and two HMMWV (Hamway) vans were used in the attack. The Russian Defense Ministry released a video of destroyed enemy equipment on the territory of the Grayvoron checkpoint, among which Humvees and pickup trucks were visible.

American armored vehicles M1224 MaxxPro on the border with the Belgorod regionSocial networks

The use of American equipment for the operation in the Belgorod region attracted the attention of American officials, writing financial times. The fact is that one of the conditions for the supply of equipment and weapons by the United States was the prohibition of their use for operations in the internationally recognized territories of Russia. The presence of US equipment in the RDK has raised questions about Kyiv’s support for extremist groups, writes FT.

Destroyed HMMWV M1151A1 armored vehicles near the Grayvoron checkpointPress Service of the Russian Defense Ministry

The United States is studying data on the use of American technology to attack the Belgorod region, declared State Department Press Secretary Matthew Miller.

“We have made it clear that we do not support the use of US weapons for attacks on Russian territory. We are investigating these reports, but have not yet come to a conclusion,” Miller said. “We will continue to work to ensure that the provided equipment is used in accordance with United States law and other requirements.”

National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby in an interview with CNN declared that the Ukrainian authorities have assured the United States that they will not use American weapons for attacks on Russian territory.

In a press conference following the attack on Belgorod Oblast, RDK commander Denis Kapustin confirmed the use of American equipment, but did not specify how it was obtained. According to him, it is possible to buy equipment supplied by the Americans to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense “on the black market”. He also added that the RDK did not lose a single piece of equipment in the attack.

Dutch, Swedish, Belgian and Czech arms

Dutch armored personnel carrier YPR 756Social media

In instagram * RDK you can often find other equipment supplied to Ukraine as part of military assistance from different countries. Several publications feature the BMP YPR-765, a batch of such vehicles. handed over Ukraine in May 2022.

In other publications, the RDK reports that it has HIMARS MLRS at its disposal. Members of the formation were photographed against the backdrop of firing facilities, but it is impossible to confirm whether they were operating them.

AT 4 anti-tank grenade launcher during the attack on the Belgorod regionSocial networks

Social networks also report that RDK fighters have mastered Western anti-tank systems. The first mention of the use of Swedish AT-4 anti-tank grenade launchers appeared in the telegram channel of State Duma Deputy Alexander Khinshtein. Grenade launchers used, according to him, after the DRC attack on the Bryansk region in early March. They also found DM31 and DM22 anti-tank mines, which are in service with NATO countries. About their deliveries from Bundeswehr warehouses reported in April 2022.


The presence of Swedish grenade launchers in the RDK was confirmed by photo and video recordings of the attack on the Belgorod region, as well as the battle near the town of Orekhov in the Zaporizhzhia region.

End of January 2023 Belgium declared , which will allocate a military aid program to Ukraine worth 92 million euros. It included portable anti-aircraft missile systems, anti-tank grenade launchers, as well as machine guns and assault rifles, which the state purchased from the Belgian manufacturer FN Herstal.

Russian media discovered the presence of Belgian-made weapons in the RDK on a video dedicated to the attack on the Bryansk region. For example, on March 10, a video appeared on the formation’s telegram channel, which depicted an FN MAG machine gun, accompanied by the following text: “We thank the Belgian company Gerstal for the weapon provided! Top quality assault rifles, machine guns and accessories! The best small arms in the world in the hands of RDK fighters! Also!”. One of the commanders with the call sign “Puck” also called the Belgian arms supply “Lend-Lease for the RDK”.

On April 12, a photo shoot with 18 FN SCAR-L rifles and three FN MAG machine guns painted in the same style appeared on the activists’ Instagram*. Belgian-made weapons are used by all members of the formation, whose identities were identified after the attack in the Belgorod region. On personal accounts, members of the RDK (for example, Ilya Bogdanov and Danil Maznik) regularly post photos with their personal weapons – each time these are Belgian rifles and machine guns.

Russian media sent a request to the government and the Belgian Ministry of Defense, as well as to FN Herstal, asking them to comment on whether they are aware of the use of Belgian weapons on Russian territory and whether they have provided these weapons directly to the RDK.

Another photo taken during the capture of the Grayvoron checkpoint shows a Czech-made CZ-806 BREN 2 assault rifle, also in service with the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

How RDK is connected with Ukrainian intelligence

Ukrainian officials deny any involvement in the RDK’s latest actions, saying the formation operates independently. So, after the attack on Bryansk, the adviser to the chief of staff of the Ukrainian president Mikhail Podolyak appointed Russia’s claims that Ukrainian saboteurs are infiltrating its territory is a “classic provocation”.

Belgian FN SCAR L and Czech CZ 806 BREN 2 rifleSocial networks

At the same time, Kapustin said he was coordinating RDK actions with Ukrainian authorities. “There are mined bridges, there are cameras, heat-seeking drones, hidden observation posts. If I didn’t agree with anyone, I think we would just be destroyed,” Kapustin explained in an interview with FT.

After the RDK attack on the Belgorod region, Andrei Yusov, representative of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine said that it is an initiative of “citizens of Russia opposed to the opposition”. Podolyak in turn writing on Twitter that Ukraine follows events in the Belgorod region with interest, but is not directly connected with them. Later, another GUR representative Andrey Chernyak nevertheless recognized that the Armed Forces of Ukraine “communicate” with “volunteer” formations and “share information (with them)”.

The rifle from the video dedicated to the attack on the Bryansk region with the logo of the Belgian arms companySocial networks

However, the DRC’s relationship with Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense has not always been so mysterious. In December last year, Kapustin openly stated in an interview with Krym.Realii** that the corps could request “heavy equipment and intelligence data” from the leadership in order to complete tasks.

In another interview, Kapustin declared that he “had to reach the President of Ukraine to declare himself and ask for an opportunity to fight officially”.

On his Instagram*, RDK also made no secret of his direct link to the GUR. Corps activities began with operations on Snake Island, which they carried out as a unit under the Main Intelligence Directorate, which they themselves spoke about in their posts.

Recently, the military unit to which the RDK is assigned also became known. One of its members published a photograph of gratitude from the command, which indicates the number of the military unit of the Armed Forces of Ukraine – A3449. This is a division of the Main Intelligence Directorate, to which the Foreign Legion of Ukraine is attached, which, in addition to the RDK, includes other national formations, for example, the “Belarusian regiment of the name”. Kalinovsky”.

*Owned by Meta, a recognized extremist company in Russia

** Recognized in Russia as a foreign agent

Read the Latest Ukraine War News on The Eastern Herald.

For the latest updates and news follow The Eastern Herald on Google News, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. To show your support click here.


Russia Desk
Russia Desk
The Eastern Herald’s Russia Desk validates the stories published under this byline. That includes editorials, news stories, letters to the editor, and multimedia features on easternherald.com.

Public Reaction