MOSCOW, April 15 (Xinhua) -- Russia said Tuesday it has halted the transfer of military equipment and weaponry in Crimea to Ukraine, warning the West against weapons deliveries to the crisis-torn country.
"I would like to reiterate that Russia pledged not to deliver or restrict the delivery of weaponry to hot spots," Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov told reporters.
He specially named eastern and south-eastern Ukraine, where clashes between pro-Russian and pro-Kiev forces have recently caused casualties, as hot spots.
Meanwhile, that decision has not been applied to the warships and combat aviation based in Crimea, Antonov said, as they cannot be used against civilians in those spots.
He also called on the West to exercise restraint while mulling arms supplies to Kiev authorities.
The Defense Ministry was closely watching the behavior of Western partners, primarily the United States and western Europe, with respect to the illegitimate regime in Kiev, Antonov said.
"Those arms could be used against civilians. Then it will be clear who should be blamed for the escalation of tension in that country," the Interfax news agency quoted Antonov as saying.
On Tuesday, Kiev launched an "anti-terror" operation against pro-Russia activists in the eastern city of Donetsk. During a similar operation in the town of Slavyansk in Donetsk region, Ukrainian security forces exchanged gunfire with pro-Russia protesters, causing casualties on both sides.
Moscow has so far transferred to Ukraine 389 armored vehicles, including eight helicopters and three ships after the Crimean peninsula was absorbed to Russia in mid-March, though major West powers refuse to recognize it.
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