Wednesday, Russia fiercely criticised the United States’ intention to equip Ukraine with advanced missile systems and weapons, warning of an increased possibility of direct conflict with Washington.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, told reporters, “We believe the United States is deliberately and painstakingly adding fuel to the fire.”
When asked how Russia would respond if Ukraine attacked Russian territory using U.S.-supplied missiles, Peskov replied, “Let’s not discuss the worst-case scenario.”
As part of a fresh U.S. package to help Kyiv defend itself in the three-month-old war that began with Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion, U.S. President Joe Biden has agreed to equip Ukraine with sophisticated rocket weapons that can strike with pinpoint accuracy at long-range Russian targets.
Senior U.S. officials stated that Washington agreed to give the rockets, which are capable of striking targets up to 80 kilometres (50 miles) away, after Ukraine provided “assurances” that it would not use the missiles to attack within Russia.
Moscow, according to Peskov, does not trust such pledges. He stated that Russia was assessing the likelihood of rockets being shot into Russian territory and taking the necessary precautions, but viewed Washington’s action as “very bad.”
He stated that such supplies would not motivate the Ukrainian government to resume stalled peace talks.
In an effort to shift the tide of the battle, Ukrainian officials have requested longer-range missile weapons that can launch a salvo of rockets hundreds of kilometres distant.
In an opinion piece for the New York Times, U.S. President Joe Biden stated, “We have acted swiftly to deliver Ukraine a large quantity of weapons and ammunition so that it can fight on the battlefield and be in the strongest possible position at the bargaining table.”
Earlier, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted by the state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying, in response to a question about the possibility of a direct confrontation between the United States and Russia, that “continuing and increasing arms shipments increase the likelihood of such a development.”