Russian officials warn countries that supply more powerful weapons to Ukraine are at risk of destruction

A spokesman for Russia’s parliament on Sunday warned that countries that supply Ukraine with more powerful weapons risk their own destruction, a message that comes after new commitments on armored vehicles, systems anti-aircraft and other equipment, not the battle tanks that Kiev requested.

“Supplying offensive weapons to the Kyiv regime will lead to a global catastrophe,” State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin said. “If Washington and NATO supply weapons that will be used to attack peaceful cities and try to take our territory as they threaten to do, that will trigger retaliation with strong weapons.” than.”

Ukraine’s supporters pledged billions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine on Friday, though the new pledges were overshadowed by defense leaders’ failure at an international meeting in Ramstein , Germany, to agree on Ukraine’s urgent request for a German-made Leopard 2 battle tank.

Germany is one of Ukraine’s main arms sponsors, and the country ordered a review of its Leopard 2 stockpile in preparation for the green light. However, the government in Berlin has shown caution in gradually increasing its commitment to Ukraine, a reluctance seen as rooted in the country’s political history and culture.

Its exploratory nature has drawn heavy criticism, especially from Poland and the Baltic states, which were on the eastern flank of NATO controlled by Moscow in the past and felt threatened. especially threatened by Russia’s new imperial ambitions.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that if Germany does not agree to transfer Leopard tanks to Ukraine, his country is ready to build a “smaller alliance” of countries that will send their tanks by any means.

“Almost a year has passed since the outbreak of war,” Morawiecki said in an interview with Polish state news agency PAP published Sunday. “Evidence of war crimes by the Russian military can be seen on television and on YouTube. Does Germany need to open its eyes further and start acting in accordance with the potential of the German state?”

“Above all, Berlin should not undermine or sabotage the activities of other countries,” Morawiecki said.

In Washington, two top lawmakers urged the United States on Sunday to send some of its Abrams tanks to Ukraine, in an attempt to overcome Germany’s reluctance to share its own more suitable Leopard 2 tanks. .

Representative Michael McCaul, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told ABC’s “This Week on Sunday”: “If we announced that we would be giving away an Abrams tank, just one, that would free up” the line of tanks from Germany. “What I hear is Germany is waiting for us to take the lead.”

Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and considered close to President Joe Biden, also spoke out about the US sending Abrams.

“I am concerned that Russia is rearming and preparing for a spring attack,” Coons said. “If it asks us to send some Abrams tanks to unlock the receipt of Leopard tanks from Germany, from Poland, from other allies, I will support that.”

Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said the meeting in Ramstein “doesn’t leave no doubt that our enemies will try to exhaust us or, better yet, destroy us”, adding that “they have enough weapons” to achieve their goals.

Medvedev, the former Russian president, warned on his messaging app channel that Russia may seek to form a military alliance with the enemy of the United States. He did not name the countries he had in mind, but Russia has defense cooperation with Iran and Venezuela, an existing military alliance with Belarus and close ties with North Korea. Since invading Ukraine, Russia has also increased the scope and number of joint exercises with China.

“In the event of a protracted conflict, a new military alliance will emerge consisting of countries fed up with Americans and their neutered dogs,” Medvedev said.

Ukraine is asking for more weapons in anticipation of Russian forces launching a new offensive in the spring.

Oleksii Danilov, Secretary of the Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, warned that Russia could try to intensify its attacks in the south and east, while also cutting off Western arms supply channels, in when conquering Kyiv “remains the main dream” of President Vladimir Putin. “Imagine,” he said.

He described the Kremlin’s goal in the conflict as “a total and absolute genocide, a war of total annihilation.”

“Moscow wants to completely destroy Ukraine as a historical phenomenon – language, history, culture, people with Ukrainian identity,” wrote Danilov in a column published by Ukrainska Pravda.

Among those calling for more arms supplies to Ukraine is former British prime minister Boris Johnson, who made a surprise trip to Ukraine on Sunday.

“This is the time to double down and give Ukrainians all the tools they need to get the job done. The sooner Putin fails, the better for Ukraine and the whole world,” Johnson said in a statement. .

Johnson, who faces new questions at home about his personal finances, was photographed in the town of Borodyanka in the Kyiv region. He said he went to Ukraine at the invitation of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Last week was particularly tragic for Ukraine even by the standards of a brutal war that has raged for almost a year, killing tens of thousands of people, displacing millions and creating vast devastation. for cities of Ukraine.

A salvo of Russian missiles hit an apartment complex southeast of the city of Dnipro on January 14, killing at least 45 civilians, including six children. On Wednesday, a government helicopter carrying the Interior Minister and other officials crashed into a building housing a kindergarten on the outskirts of Kiev. The minister and a child on the ground were among the 14 killed.

Zelenskyy, who on Saturday mourned the victims of the helicopter crash, on Sunday announced that Ukraine would win the war.

“We are united because we are strong. We are strong because we are united,” the Ukrainian leader said in a video address as he marked Ukraine Reunification Day, commemorating the day of Eastern and Western Ukraine. unified in 1919.

“O invincibles, Happy Unification Day of Ukraine!” he say.


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