Chechnya Threatens to Arm Mexico if U.S. Sends Weapons to Ukraine

Ukraine conflict
Ukraine's voluntary militia called the Azov Battalion holds artillery training in east Ukraine's village of Urzuf that sits west of the port city of Mariupol on the Azov Sea, March 19, 2015. Marko Djurica/ REUTERS

The Chechen parliament have threatened to send weapons to Mexico in retaliation to the U.S. Congress calling for defensive lethal aid to be sent to Ukraine.

On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favour of sending arms - the resolution was passed 348 to 48.

U.S. senator for Wisconsin Ron Johnson branded it "absolutely necessary" that president Obama provide lethal and nonlethal military assistance to Ukraine, in light of the attacks by Russian-backed rebels on civilians in Mariupol in January.

In response, Chechnya's parliamentary speaker Dukuvakha Abdurakhmanov said that the U.S. has "no right" to advise Russia on how to behave with its neighbours.

He warned that the supply of arms to Ukraine will be perceived by Chechnya, a southern Russian republic, as a signal to deliver new weapons to Mexico to "resume debate on the legal status of the territories annexed by the U.S."

Abdurakhmanov is referring to the states of California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming, which Mexico surrendered to the U.S. in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, a peace deal which concluded the Mexican-American conflict.

The U.S. paid Mexico $15 million and took on the $3.25 million debt owed by the Mexican government to American citizens in exchange for the territory.

In the 1853 Gadsden Purchase, the U.S. paid an additional $10 million to buy what is now New Mexico and Arizona.

Adurakhmanov said: "We reserve the right to conduct conferences in Russia, Mexico and the U.S. to raise the question of breaking away the above mentioned states from the U.S. and supplying weapons to resistance fighters there."

On Tuesday, the head of the foreign affairs committee in the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, Alexey Pushkov, urged Obama to resist congressional pressure to arm Ukraine.

Pushkov told a Russian news agency that the U.S. Congress' non-binding resolution sends "a strong signal of America's long-term support in its policy of confrontation with Russia".

Previous calls to arm Ukraine have been rejected by the Obama administration, who fear the move could instigate greater bloodshed between Ukrainian forces and the separatists.

Earlier this month, the death toll from the conflict in eastern Ukraine passed 6,000, according the UN human rights office.

The crisis erupted in April 2014 following the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation during the previous month.