Russia has condemned a decision by the United States and its Western allies to step up military assistance to Ukraine, warning that it will only worsen the ongoing conflict and could potentially lead to a direct confrontation between Moscow and Washington.
Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov made the remarks in an interview with the Newsweek on Saturday, after the US and its European allies vowed to ramp up military aid to Ukraine. They back Kiev’s claim that Russian forces have committed “war crimes” in Bucha, a suburb of the Ukrainian capital.
“Western states are directly involved in the current events as they continue to pump Ukraine with weapons and ammunition, thereby inciting further bloodshed,” Antonov said. “Western states are directly involved in the current events as they continue to pump Ukraine with weapons and ammunition, thereby inciting further bloodshed.”
Antonov warned that “such actions are dangerous and provocative” as they are directed against Russia. “They can lead the US and the Russian Federation onto the path of direct military confrontation.”
“Any supply of weapons and military equipment from the West, performed by transport convoys through the territory of Ukraine, is a legitimate military target for our Armed Forces,” he said.
In a video message on April 2, the mayor of Bucha, Anatoliy Fedoruk, claimed 300 people had been killed by the Russian army, with some appearing to have been executed summarily. He displayed videos and photographs of purported bodies of 280 people buried in mass graves. Ten bodies had been either not buried or only partially covered by earth, the footage shows.
Kiev has urged major Western powers, including the United States, to impose new crippling sanctions on Moscow over the “massacre” in Bucha.
Russia has denied the allegations, labeling it a “monstrous forgery” staged by the West to discredit Moscow.
On April 7, Ukraine called on NATO to provide Kiev with all the weaponry it needs to fight Russia.
Moscow has repeatedly warned NATO against sending more weapons and troops near Russia, and some NATO members have cautioned that such moves would drastically escalate tensions.
Antonov also accused the West of “demonizing” Russia, saying the policy of Moscow “is based on the right for all the peoples living today in the Ukrainian territory to choose their own future.”
He said Russia is taking the necessary measures to preserve the lives and safety of civilians. Russia’s airstrikes, the official added, are made “only on military targets and exclusively with high-precision weapons.”
The Russian official said Moscow’s principled position regarding the settlement of the conflict has been clearly defined, including Ukraine abandoning the ambitious bid for membership in NATO.
President Vladimir Putin of Russia announced a military operation in Ukraine on February 24. The conflict has provoked a unanimous response from Western countries, which have imposed a long list of sanctions on Moscow. Russia says it will halt the operation instantly if Kiev meets Moscow's list of demands.