Russia has warned the United States against sending weapons to Ukraine, saying the move would cause “colossal damage” to ties between the two countries.
Moscow is “seriously concerned” over discussions in the West about sending arms supplies to the Kiev government, which is embroiled in fierce clashes with pro-Russian forces in the east of Ukraine, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Alexander Lukashevich, said on Thursday.
“Without a doubt, if such a decision is realized, it will cause colossal damage to US-Russian relations, especially if the residents of Donbass (Donetsk and Lugansk regions) start to be killed by American weapons,” Lukashevich added.
The United States said it is considering giving Ukraine weapons to help the military in its fight against pro-Russian fighters.
Lukashevich also warned that the move “would not only threaten to escalate the situation in the southeast of Ukraine, but threatens the security of Russia, whose territory has been repeatedly shelled from Ukraine.”
Fighting has picked up around east Ukraine in recent weeks. Clashes are currently focused in the city of Debaltseve, where pro-Russia fighters are trying to encircle Ukrainian forces.
International efforts to establish a truce in east Ukraine have failed so far with Western governments accusing Russia of supporting the armed militancy against the Ukrainian government. Moscow denies the charges, saying Kiev must stop suppression of ethnic Russian population in the area.
Russia has already been hit by several rounds of Western sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine, but the restrictive measures have backfired on the economy of the European countries.
Deep divisions have emerged between EU members on the need for the adoption of more broad-spectrum sanctions on Moscow, with some member states saying such a decision may take its toll on the weaker economies in the EU.