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Russia warns US about sending Patriot missiles to Ukraine

Russia’s foreign ministry warned Thursday that if the United States shipped advanced Patriot air defense missiles to Ukraine, Moscow would consider it a “provocative move” and could provoke a reaction from the Kremlin.

Defense Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the US deployment of Patriot missiles to counter Russian airstrikes represented an escalation in the US role in helping the Kyiv government fend off Russia’s 10-month war. “It can have possible consequences,” he said.

FILE – Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Moscow, January 18, 2022. result. “

She did not elaborate on what Moscow’s reaction would be, but said the US should “draw the right conclusions” from Russia’s warning that US-supplied equipment is a legitimate target for Russian attacks. rice field. With arms shipments to Ukraine, she said, the US had already “became a de facto party” to the war.

The US confirmed to reporters this week that it had agreed to send Patriot missile systems to Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelensky has long said Ukraine needs to be protected from an onslaught of Russian airstrikes targeting critical infrastructure, including power and water utilities.

White House and Pentagon leaders have consistently said providing Ukraine with additional air defenses is a priority, but until this week they were hesitant to send Patriot missiles. , continued bombardment of Ukrainian infrastructure has led US officials to decide that the deployment of air defense missiles is necessary.

U.S. officials also said on Thursday that new directives at Germany’s Grafenwehr training range would expand Ukrainian forces’ military combat training over the winter.

The United States has already trained approximately 3,100 Ukrainian troops on how to use and maintain a variety of weapons and other equipment, including howitzers, armored vehicles, and a high-mobility artillery rocket system known as HIMARS.

Senior U.S. military leaders have been discussing expanding such training for months, citing the need to improve the ability of Ukrainian company- and battalion-sized units to move and coordinate attacks against Russian forces. rice field.

Death and Darkness of Kherson

The latest Russian shelling on Thursday killed two people in Kherson and completely blacked out the southern Ukraine city. Russian-installed officials have reported a Ukrainian attack in the eastern city of Donetsk.

Kirilo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the office of President Volodymyr Zelensky, posted on Telegram that the Russian attack hit the local administration building in Kherson.

In Donetsk, Russian-appointed mayor Alexei Kremzin said the overnight shelling represented some of the biggest attacks in years.

Russian-backed separatists have controlled parts of the Donetsk region since 2014, and in September the region was part of an annexation announced by Russia that was rejected by the international community.

In Geneva, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk told a meeting of the Human Rights Council that Russia’s war against Ukraine continues to be marked by gross violations of international human rights law.

Turk, who ended his visit to Ukraine last week, said 18 million people in Ukraine are in need of humanitarian assistance and that further Russian airstrikes “could lead to a further serious deterioration of the humanitarian situation and cause more displacement.” ‘ said.

He said millions of Ukrainian civilians were being subjected to “extreme hardship during the winter” due to Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure, including energy facilities.

“I sincerely hope that this senseless war will end,” Turk said.

Some information in this article was provided by The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, and Reuters.

https://www.voanews.com/a/russia-warns-us-on-sending-patriot-missiles-to-ukraine-/6878385.html Russia warns US about sending Patriot missiles to Ukraine

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