Russian Ambassador Calls for Common Sense in US Rocket Systems Deliveries to Ukraine
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Russia hopes that the United States will be guided by common sense when deciding on deliveries of long-range missiles to Ukraine, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said on Saturday.
At the same time, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said on Thursday that the US had not made the final decision on the supply of MLRSs to Ukraine.
"We currently proceed from the statement of Pentagon spokesman [John] Kirby, [who said] that the final decision on this issue has not been made. We hope common sense will prevail and Washington will not take such a provocative step," Antonov replied to a media inquiry, as quoted by the Russian embassy on Telegram.
The ambassador noted that Moscow had repeatedly warned Washington via diplomatic channels that pouring more weaponry to Ukraine significantly increases the risks of escalation.
"Americans are well aware their actions push further away the prospects for peace. The US is being drawn deeper and deeper into the crisis in Ukraine. It has unpredictable consequences for global security," Antonov said.
The top diplomat believes that if such weapons are supplied, they may be deployed in close proximity to the borders, allowing Ukrainian forces to strike Russian cities. Antonov noted that Russia will not tolerate this situation and will take the necessary steps to "eliminate the capabilities" of Ukrainian forces.
The diplomat called on Washington and Kiev to "come to terms with the reality," and move toward a political resolution of the crisis.
On Thursday, CNN reported, citing multiple US officials, that Washington may include advanced long-range rocket weapon systems in a new US military assistance package for Ukraine, which could be announced as soon as next week. Ukraine has been asking the United States to provide Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), the report said.
On 24 February, Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine after the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk requested help to defend them against intensifying attacks from Ukrainian troops. In response, the United States and its allies implemented comprehensive sanctions against Russia. The West has also supplied lethal weapons to Ukraine worth billions of dollars.