BBC: “Russia has formally warned the US – and other allied nations – against supplying weapons to Ukraine.”
Russian fighter jets and missiles hit the Ukrainian capital Kyiv days after the sinking of the Russian flagship cruiser Moskva. “Russian air raids and missile strikes hit Ukraine’s capital Kyiv and other major cities on Saturday,” Reuters reported. “The attacks followed Russia’s announcement on Friday that it would intensify long-range strikes in retaliation for unspecified acts of “sabotage” and “terrorism”, hours after it confirmed the sinking of its Black Sea flagship, the Moskva,” the news agency added.
On Wednesday, the Ukrainian military claimed sinking the battleship Moskva with anti-ship missiles fired from batteries positioned in the port city Odessa. Russia denied initial reports but later confirmed that the Soviet-era missile cruiser, which served as its Black Sea flagship and had a crew of 500 men on board, sustained damage and sank to the bottom of the sea.
Last month, Russian forces withdrew from the outskirts of Kyiv, but the Ukrainian capital remains well within the range of Russian fighter jets and rockets. The relocation of troops away from Kyiv was part of the shifting Russian strategy to gain ground in eastern and southern Ukraine and possibly cut off the country’s access to the sea.
Russia responded to the sinking of the battleship by hitting regions all across Ukraine, the Associated Press reported:
Ukraine’s presidential office reported Saturday that missile strikes and shelling over the past 24 hours occurred in eight regions: Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv in the east, Dnipropetrovsk, Poltava and Kirovohrad in the central Ukraine and Mykolaiv and Kherson in the south. The strikes underlined that the whole country remained under threat despite Russia’s pivot toward mounting a new offensive in the east.
Heavy fighting was reported around the port city of Mariupol, where thousands of Ukrainian defenders were still holding out after weeks of Russian encirclement.
For the first time in this war, Russia deployed long-range bombers, hitting targets in Mariupol. “Russia had fired on Mariupol from long-range bombers, the first time they had been used during seven weeks of all-out war between the neighbours,” The Irish Times reported Friday night citing Ukrainian defense ministry.
The fall of Mariupol could further secure Russia’s hold over the strategic Crimean peninsula it annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
Russia “Formally” Warns U.S. Over Arms Supply to Ukraine
Following the sinking of the Moskva, the Kremlin issued a ‘formal warning’ to the United States and Western allies against supplying weaponry to the Ukrainians. The warning could be a prelude to Russian strikes against ships carrying U.S. or European armaments. Last month, Russia declared incoming military aid to Ukraine a legitimate targets in its ongoing offensive.
The BBC, on Saturday morning, reported the Russian warning:
Russia has formally warned the US – and other allied nations – against supplying weapons to Ukraine. The warning came in a formal diplomatic note from Moscow, a copy of which has been reviewed by media outlets in the US.
The two-page diplomatic note – forwarded to the US State Department by the Russian embassy in Washington – warns that US and Nato weapons shipments are “adding fuel” to the conflict in Ukraine, and could lead to what Russian diplomats refer to as “unpredictable consequences”.
It was sent on Tuesday, just as word of a new US military aid package for Ukraine had started to leak out. Only hours later President Biden approved the shipment of $800m of military assistance – including, for the first time, long range artillery weapons such as howitzers – with the aim of matching Russia’s military capability in Ukraine.
The warning comes a day after Germany announced an increase in military aid to Ukraine. “German Finance Minister Christian Lindner has confirmed that the government will boost military assistance spending in 2022 to €2 billion ($2.16 billion),” German broadcaster DW News reported Friday. Since the Russian invasion began in late February, Berlin has been reluctant to supply military hardware to Ukraine, citing its post-WWII policy of not shipping weapons into conflict zones.
Russian Threatens Nordic States With Nuke Deployment Over NATO Membership
After this week’s joint announcement by Sweden and Finland suggesting that they may apply for a NATO membership, Russia has threatened the two Nordic countries with deployment of nuclear and hypersonic missiles near their borders if they move ahead with such a plan.
“One of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies warned NATO on Thursday that if Sweden and Finland joined the U.S.-led military alliance then Russia would deploy nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles,” in the Russian Baltic Sea exclave Kaliningrad, overlooking the coasts of Sweden and Finland, Reuters reported.
The 30-state Western alliance is willing to accept Sweden and Finland as its newest members, news reports suggest. “At NATO’s recent extraordinary summit in Brussels, the Swedish and Finnish leaders sounded out Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on how the alliance would view potential applications for membership,” Germany’s DW News reported Thursday. “Stoltenberg made no secret of the fact that NATO is in favor of Sweden and Finland joining.”DONATE
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