MOSCOW, Russia – Additional and continuing “delivery” of US weapons to Ukraine would increase tensions and undermine efforts for peace on Ukrainian soil, Russian officials said after US special envoy Kurt Volker announced such plans and more sanctions.
“Moving through Congress is a military financing package of around $250 million and the ability to sell additional equipment,” Volker told reporters in Brussels on Monday. “Within the next months there will be some announcements about the first tranches. And it will be ongoing.”
He also stated that Ukraine is “under attack” from Russia and defended a Western military presence near or even within that country, to “raise the visibility of Russia’s actions.”
The idea of imposing additional sanctions on Russia over the November 25 incident in the Kerch Strait seems to be “gaining some traction” among Washington’s allies in Europe, Volker continued, suggesting that this could happen “in the next month or two” .
Reactions in the Kremlin
In Moscow, Russian lawmakers criticized Volker’s statements as destructive, saying the US envoy is helping to increase tensions in Ukraine rather than settle them peacefully.
“This confirms once again that the US regards Ukraine as a puppet and a proxy for implementing its aggressive designs against Russia,” Yuri Shvytkin, deputy chair of the Duma’s defense and security committee, told RT.
“By supplying Ukraine with any types of weapons, the US encourage the escalation of tensions with Russia in the first place, which of course does not benefit stability in the region,” Shvytkin added.
Talking about a Western military presence is actually contributing to Ukraine’s unwillingness to implement the Minsk agreements and prolong the conflict, the lawmaker argued. The Minsk lawsuit suspended the open war between the two provinces of eastern Ukraine, which refused to recognize the coup of 2014, and the government in Kiev, which portrayed the conflict as “Russian aggression.”
Last month, three Ukrainian patrol vessels attempted to sail by force from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov, across the Kerch Strait, and were detained by the Russian Coast Guard. On Monday, Volker appeared to be on the side of Kiev and accused Russia of aggression against Ukraine.
“Russia did nothing illegal, so there is nothing for the US and its vassals to respond to,” Senator Olga Kovitidi, member of the Federation Council’s defense and security committee, told RT. “US actions are aimed at the global escalation of conflicts through incitement and unfair competition.”
Statements that qualify as “systemic provocations” have already become “an integral attribute of US foreign policy,” said Kovitidi.
“If the border of our country is violated by anyone, there will be an appropriate response,” said Shvytkin.