Western arms supplies to Ukraine are posing a threat to European security, Russia says after warning any attempt to “interfere” in the country will be met with a swift response from Moscow.
“In itself, the tendency to pump weapons, including heavy weapons, to Ukraine and other countries are actions that threaten the security of the continent and provoke instability,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday.
Peskov was responding to a question about remarks issued on Wednesday by British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who said countries opposed to Russia’s invasion must double down on their support, including by supplying heavy weapons, tanks and planes to Kyiv.
Kyiv has received billions of dollars worth of military support from its Western allies with efforts led by the United States and the NATO transatlantic military alliance.
The backing began cautiously with mostly defensive infantry weapons, but has since shifted to include heavy artillery and drones.
The US alone has provided $3bn in aid since Russia launched its invasion on February 24. On Thursday, President Joe Biden is expected to ask Congress for more funds to support Ukraine’s military.
Biden’s anticipated move comes on the back of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy having pleaded for his country’s supporters to supply it with heavier firepower as it seeks to push back Moscow’s offensive, which is now focused on Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.
But on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin cautioned against foreign “interference” in the situation.
“If someone intends to intervene in the ongoing events from the outside, and create strategic threats for Russia that are unacceptable to us, they should know that our retaliatory strikes will be lightning-fast,” he told lawmakers in St Petersburg.
“We have all sorts of tools that the West cannot obtain, and we will not boast of our weapons but we will use them if need be and I want everyone to know that,” Putin added.
Russia has consistently portrayed the US and NATO as aggressors and claims to have been forced into launching its so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine in order to safeguard its own security.
Moscow has also said weapons supplies to Kyiv are a “legitimate target” for Russia’s military as it continues its offensive.