Lavrov Slams Kiev's Demands for Foreign MLRS as 'Direct Provocation'
13:41 GMT 01.06.2022 (Updated: 17:14 GMT 12.04.2023)
The US earlier gave the green light to ship MLRS rocket launchers to Ukraine. However, President Joe Biden has claimed that Russian territory will not be within range of the weapons Washington is due to send.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has stated that Kiev is pushing the boundaries by demanding that western nations ship multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) to Ukraine. He branded the appeal as a "direct provocation".
He added that by pushing such demands, Ukraine seeks to involve other countries
in the conflict, but that western politicians can clearly appreciate the risks associated. The minister also noted that Russia saw signs of "reasonable assessment" from Washington with regards to Kiev's MLRS request.
Lavrov stated that Russia passed along its own assessment of the request to other western countries via normal channels, but that not every country heeded its words.
"I will say it frankly: not everyone in the European Union, especially in its northern part [understands this]. There are politicians, who are ready to do this madness in order to satisfy their ambitions. But serious countries in the EU naturally are well aware that such scenarios are unacceptable", the minister said.
The US announced a $40 billion spending package
for Ukraine on 31 May, which included multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) called HIMARS (High Mobility Rockets System). President Joe Biden earlier assured that Washington will not be sending Ukraine weapons that would allow it to hit Russian territory.
HIMARS' range is between 133.5 and 300 kilometres, depending on the ammunition. Even with short-range ammo, the weapon can fire twice or thrice as far as the howitzers that Ukraine is currently using to hit the outer bounds of Russia's Belgorod region, injuring and killing civilians in villages located close to the border.
It is not clear how the Biden administration plans to limit Ukraine's use of its MLRS. While Kiev has assured that it would only use them against Russian troops taking part in the special military operation, Moscow stated that it could no longer trust such statements.