Kyiv, Ukraine ( Associated Press) – The Russian Foreign Ministry warned on Thursday that if the US confirms reports of plans to deliver sophisticated air defense missiles to Ukraine, it would be “another provocative move by the United States” that could prompt a response from Moscow .
Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a weekly briefing that the US had “effectively become a party” to the war in Ukraine following reports that it would provide Kyiv with Patriot surface-to-air missiles, which The West has the most advanced weapons ever. Offered to help stop Russian airstrikes.
“An increase in US military assistance, including the transfer of such sophisticated weapons, would mean further involvement of military personnel in hostilities and could have potential consequences,” Zakharova said.
He did not specify what those results might be.
US officials said Tuesday that Washington is on the verge of approving the shipment of a battery of Patriot missiles to Ukraine., finally acceding to an urgent request from the Ukrainian leadership, desperate for more powerful weapons to shoot down incoming Russian missiles that have crippled the country’s vital infrastructure. An official announcement is expected soon.
Up to 90 soldiers are needed to operate and maintain the Patriot battery, and for months the United States has been reluctant to provide the complex system because sending US troops to Ukraine to operate the system is a threat to President Joe’s administration. Not a viable option.
Even without the presence of US forces to train Ukrainians in the use of the system, concerns remain that the deployment of the missiles could provoke Russia or that there is a risk that fired projectiles will strike inside Russia and escalate the conflict. .
Before reports of the Patriot systems being handed over emerged, Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, which is chaired by President Vladimir Putin, warned that if the Patriots entered Ukraine with NATO personnel, they would immediately Will fall on our legitimate targets. Armed Forces.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov asked on Wednesday whether the Kremlin backed off that threat, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it did, but said in a conference call with reporters that he would refrain from further comment until then. Until the United States officially announces the delivery of Patriot to Ukraine.
Two defense officials said this Russia’s warnings will not change the calculation of what weapons the United States will provide, The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
So far, Ukraine has reacted cautiously to the reports. Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Mlyar told reporters in Kyiv on Thursday that the delivery of such weapons was “sensitive not only for Ukraine but also for our partners” and that only the President Volodymyr Zelensky Or will Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov make an official announcement about such an agreement.
White House and Pentagon leaders have consistently stressed that providing additional air defenses to Ukraine is a priority, and Patriot missiles have been under study for some time. As winter approached and Russian bombardment of civilian infrastructure intensified, the idea became a priority.
Ukraine’s electricity provider said on Thursday the country’s power system was in “significant power shortage” and emergency blackouts were enforced in some areas while temperatures were hovering or below freezing.
The network’s state operator, Ukrainergo, warned in a statement on Facebook that damage to energy infrastructure from the Russian attacks was being exacerbated by harsh weather conditions including snow, ice and strong winds.
High temperatures in the capital are forecast to rise barely above freezing over the weekend, with even colder weather expected early next week.
The southern Ukrainian city of Kherson was completely without power after Russian shelling on Thursday, Deputy Head of the Office of the Ukrainian President Kirilo Tymoshenko wrote on Telegram. He said two people had died in the attacks.
Heavy shelling continued in the city’s Korabelny district, with Russian shells falling within 100 meters (yards) of the regional administrative building.
Seven civilians were killed and 19 injured on Wednesday and Thursday, amid attacks on infrastructure and power cuts across the country, according to a report released by the Ukrainian president’s office.
The head of Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk province, Pavlo Kirilenko, said two civilians had been killed and seven wounded in Russian attacks the previous day.
Officials in the region, backed by the Kremlin and illegally annexed by Moscow in September, announced that Russia had captured 80% of the city of Marinka, which was seen as vital to Ukrainian hopes of recapturing the regional capital, Donetsk. is believed.
Aleksey Kulemzin, the mayor of Donetsk installed in Moscow, said on Thursday that the city center had been hit by the “biggest attack” since Russia-backed separatists took control in 2014.
Kulemzin said on Telegram that 40 rockets from Ukraine targeted Donetsk on Thursday morningNoting that multi-storey residential buildings were affected and a hospital and a university campus caught fire.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces opened fire on Russia’s Kursk province, according to the region’s governor, Roman Starovoit. Six shells reportedly hit a field in Belovsky district, bordering Ukraine’s Sumy province. There were no casualties, Starovoit wrote on a telegram.
The Times of Israel