Russia accuses US of ‘flooding’ Ukraine with weapons
Russia has said that Washington’s plan to send more weapons to Ukraine damages the chances of a successful peace process. Western countries have stepped up arms deliveries to Kiev since Moscow attacked the country in late February.
“Flooding Ukraine with weapons doesn’t contribute to the success of the Russian-Ukrainian talks. Instead, obviously, it will have a negative effect,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday.
Peskov’s statement came a day after the US Senate passed legislation that revives a World War II-era land-lease program allowing Washington to expedite the shipment of arms to Kiev. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba thanked senators for their support and said he was expecting a “swift passage” of the bill in the House of Representatives.
The US announced on Wednesday that an additional $100 million will be directed at supplying Ukraine with more Javelin shoulder-fired anti-tank missile systems. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said that 100 Switchblade kamikaze drones will be also delivered to Kiev.
NATO countries have been sending various weapons, including Soviet-era tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, to Ukraine, but refused to deliver aircraft, or set up a no-fly zone over the country, fearing an open war with Russia.
The sides held peace talks in Turkey late last month, during which the Ukrainian negotiators presented a roadmap for a potential deal to end the hostilities.
Moscow attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements signed in 2014, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to regularize the status of the regions within the Ukrainian state.
Kiev says that the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.