Russia denounces US decision of advanced rocket system deployment in Ukraine as China steps in to Russia’s defence. The “dragonbear alliance” shows its fangs.
Russia on Wednesday (June 1) sharply criticised a US decision to supply advanced rocket systems and munitions to Ukraine, warning of an increased risk of a direct confrontation between the two superpowers.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told state news agency RIA Novosti that Moscow viewed US military aid to Ukraine “extremely negatively”.
He singled out the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), a multiple rocket launcher that can strike with precision at long-range targets.
Washington said it would include the system in a $700 million military aid package expected to be unveiled on Wednesday. Senior administration officials said Ukraine had given assurances that HIMARS missiles would not be used against targets inside Russia.
“We have moved quickly to send Ukraine a significant amount of weaponry and ammunition so that it can fight on the battlefield and be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table,” US President Joe Biden wrote in an opinion piece in the New York Times.
Ryabkov, when asked about the prospect of a direct confrontation between the US and Russia, said: “Any arms shipments that continue, that are on the rise, increase the risks of such a development.”
He blamed Washington for escalating hostilities in Ukraine, saying: “The US does nothing in the interests of finding some kind of solution. It was precisely the same for many years before the beginning of the special military operation.”
President Vladimir Putin launched what Russia calls a “special operation” on February 24 to disarm and “denazify” Ukraine. Ukraine and its Western allies call this a baseless pretext for an unprovoked war of aggression.
NPR also reported that two European leaders over the weekend urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to end his country’s hostilities in Ukraine and return to the negotiating table as the war nears the 100-day mark.
In a Saturday phone call, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke with Putin, asking him to hold “direct” and “serious” talks with his Ukrainian counterpart, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, according to releases from the offices of Macron and Scholz.
In a statement, the Kremlin said Russia “is open to renewing dialogue with Kyiv.” But Putin also warned Macron and Scholz against further arms supplies to Ukraine, it said, suggesting that continuing to provide weapons could risk “further destabilization of the situation.” And the Kremlin said any move to allow the export of grain from Ukraine’s ports — which have been blocked by Russian warships — should be answered by the lifting of what the Kremlin called “relevant sanctions.”
As the United States prepared to supply long-range rocket systems including the rocket launcher HIMARS to Ukraine’s military, China on Wednesday opposed the decision, saying that it is “an incitement of the conflict in Ukraine.” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Wednesday at a briefing that Washington needed to stop ramping up pressure on Russia via unilateral sanctions, as well as exacerbating the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine by flowing in weaponry in Ukraine.
“We call for a ceasefire and end of hostilities,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian at the briefing in Beijing.
Lijian told reporters in Beijing that PRC has been “using various channels” to establish communication with both sides [Russia and Ukraine.] The former pushed for the pursuance of a diplomatic channel for the resolution of the conflict and cessation of hostilities. “As for the situation in Ukraine, China […] insists that the US and other Western states stop fueling the fire and stop increasing unilateral sanctions [against Russia],” China’s foreign ministry spokesperson underscored during the briefing.