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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Graeme Massie

Russian agent who infiltrated the NRA says Ukraine shouldn’t hand out rifles in case a child gets hurt

AFP via Getty Images

A Russian agent who infiltrated the National Rifle Association says Ukraine should not hand out weapons to its citizens in case a child gets hurt.

Maria Butina condemned the embattled country’s leadership for dishing out more than 18,000 guns to civilian volunteers in an effort to drive back Russian invaders.

But that is apparently not acceptable for the convicted spy, who told Russian state media TV show Vremya Pokazhet on Saturday that “people don’t know how to handle them and a child might be killed at home”.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged any nationals living abroad to return and defend the country, as well as welcoming foreign volunteers and promised “we will give you weapons”.

In a major shift on Saturday Germany said it would now send 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger missiles to Ukraine, reversing its arms export policy.

Butina pleaded guilty in 2018 to being directed by a Russian government officials to “establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over American politics”.

The FBI said that she used political groups, such as the NRA, to develop “back channel” communications with American officials to influence US foreign policy in favour of Russia.

Civilian Members of a territorial defence unit fit their weapons to repel the Russian attacking forces in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. (AP)

She was sentenced to 1months in prison and released from custody on 25 October 2019.

In this undated handout photo provided by the Alexandria Sheriff's Office, Russian national Maria Butina is seen in a booking photo in Alexandria, Virginia. Butina is awaiting trial on spying charges (Getty Images)

Butina came to the US to study at American University and was the cofounder of the mysterious Russian gun-rights group called “Right to Bear Arms”.

After her release from prison, Butina was immediately deported back to Moscow.

Once back in Russia she got a job with Russia’s state-owned television network as host of an online show that mocks opposition to the Kremlin.

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