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Russia threatens to target Western arms shipments to Ukraine

Comments by Russian deputy foreign minister come after US Senate approves $13.6 billion in aid to war-torn country

A Ukrainian Territorial Defence Forces member holds an NLAW anti-tank weapon, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Wednesday, March 9, 2022. (AP/Efrem Lukatsky)
A Ukrainian Territorial Defence Forces member holds an NLAW anti-tank weapon, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Wednesday, March 9, 2022. (AP/Efrem Lukatsky)

Russia on Saturday said its troops could target shipments of Western weapons in Ukraine, where the Russian army has been advancing since late February.

“We warned the United States that the orchestrated pumping of weapons from a number of countries is not just a dangerous move, it is a move that turns these convoys into legitimate targets,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told state television.

He said Moscow had warned “about the consequences of the thoughtless transfer to Ukraine of weapons like man-portable air defense systems, anti-tank missile systems and so on.”

Ryabkov said Washington had not taken Moscow’s warnings seriously and added that Russia and the US were not holding any “negotiation processes” on Ukraine.

He also denounced the US sanctions against Moscow as an “unprecedented attempt to deal a serious blow to various sectors of the Russian economy,” but noted that Moscow will act in a measured way to avoid hurting itself.

Ryabkov said that Russia has no intention to expel Western media and businesses amid the soaring tensions with the West, adding that ”we aren’t going to escalate the situation.”

Ukrainian servicemen are at work to receive the delivery of FGM-148 Javelins, an American man-portable anti-tank missile provided by US to Ukraine as part of a military support, at Kyiv’s airport Boryspil, on February 11, 2022. (Sergei Supinsky/AFP)

The US Senate on Friday approved $13.6 billion in aid for Ukraine which will go towards arming and equipping the country along with the Pentagon’s costs for sending American troops to other Eastern European nations skittish about the warfare next door.

Much of the rest included humanitarian and economic assistance, strengthening regional allies’ defenses, and protecting their energy supplies and cybersecurity needs.

An unprecedented $350 million in emergency military aid announced in late February has already been delivered to Ukrainian forces in the form of Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and portable Javelin anti-tank missiles.

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