The Kremlin on Wednesday slammed a U.S. plan to supply advanced rocket systems to Ukraine and described it as an escalatory move by the two countries, which have assured Moscow that the weapons will not be used to strike Russian territory.
“We believe that the United States is deliberately and diligently ‘pouring fuel on the fire’ and is following the line to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a news briefing Wednesday.
“Such deliveries do not contribute to … the Ukrainian leadership’s willingness to resume peace talks,” he added.
The United States is sending the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, that has a range of about 43 miles and will extend Ukraine’s reach in the ongoing artillery war with Russia, a senior administration official said Tuesday. The official said the United States will not provide the longest-range munitions for the system to Ukraine.
Moscow has warned that it would harshly retaliate against countries that provide advanced weapons to Ukraine. In an essay in the New York Times, President Biden offered assurances to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, that the United States does not intend to provoke a wider conflict through these supplies but rather put Ukraine in “the strongest possible position at the negotiating table.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also said that HIMARS would not be used to launch attacks into Russian territory.
The Kremlin said Wednesday it does not trust these assurances.
“No, in order to trust, you need to have experience of cases where promises were kept. Unfortunately, there is no such experience at all,” Peskov told reporters when asked to comment on Zelensky’s remarks.