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Russia warns West not to test its patience, vows 'tough military response'

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Ukrainian soldiers ride in a military vehicle to the front line during a fight, amid Russia's military operation in Ukraine, near Izyum, Kharkiv region, Ukraine, April 23, 2022. (Photo by Reuters)

Russia has warned the West that there would be a tough military response to any further attack on Russian territory, urging Western capitals to stop pumping weapons into Ukraine.

The warning came after British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said it would be legitimate for Ukrainian forces to target Russian logistics to cripple their supply of food, fuel and munitions.

“In the West, they are openly calling on Kiev to attack Russia including with the use of weapons received from NATO countries,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters in Moscow on Thursday. "I don't advise you to test our patience further."

Two months after the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, Moscow has reported several military attacks by Ukrainian forces on Russian regions bordering Ukraine.

Russia’s Defense Ministry warned on Tuesday that if such attacks continued, Moscow would target key centers in Ukraine, including those where Western advisers were helping Kiev.

“Kiev and West capitals should take the statement from the Ministry of Defense seriously that further inciting of Ukraine to strike Russian territory will definitely lead to a tough response from Russia,” Zakharova said.

The ministry’s spokesman depicted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as a US puppet who is being used by Washington to threaten Moscow.

Washington and its European allies have supplied Kiev with military equipment such as drones, Howitzer heavy artillery, anti-aircraft Stinger and anti-tank Javelin missiles. According to a US official, the worth of total US security assistance stands at about $3.7 billion.

Russian President Vladimir Putin casts such military shipments as part of a broader plan by Washington and its allies to destroy Russia.  

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Thursday warned that the Western governments’ arms deliveries to Ukraine would be dangerous for the European security.

“The tendency to pump weapons, including heavy weapons into Ukraine, these are the actions that threaten the security of the continent, provoke instability,” Peskov told reporters in Moscow.

UK calls on West to increase military support 

On Wednesday, Britain’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss called on European allies to “ramp up” military production, including tanks and planes, to help Kiev with further equipment.

“Heavy weapons, tanks, airplanes – digging deep into our inventories, ramping up production. We need to do all of this,” she said, adding that Russian forces must be pushed out of “the whole of Ukraine”, indicating that Crimea must also be recaptured. 

Defense Secretary Wallace supported her call on Western allies to “double down” on their support for Ukraine in the belief that Russia’s war could last five years or longer.

"Part of defending itself in this type of invasion is obviously where Ukraine will go after the supply lines of the Russian army because without fuel and food and ammunition, the Russian army grinds to a halt and can no longer continue its invasion," he told BBC TV.

Britain has been a vocal supporter of Ukraine since it came under attack in late February, sending aid and arms to help it repel its larger neighbor.

Truss said, “If Putin succeeds, there will be untold further misery across Europe and terrible consequences across the globe."

“We would never feel safe again. So we must be prepared for the long haul and double down on our support for Ukraine.”

Wallace said Thursday Britain had sent artillery to Ukraine that was being used within Ukraine on Russian forces, but he added that it had not, and was unlikely, to send weapons that could be used for longer-range attacks.

He also touched on attacks in Russia in recent weeks, saying it was not clear if they had come from the Ukrainian state. Wallace was adamant to point out that Ukraine did not have British weapons that could do that.

Ukrainian forces, he said, tend to use mobile launchers while the British army would deliver them from the air or sea.

"They currently don't have British weapons that could do that, so it's unlikely that it is our weapons," he said.

Foreign Secretary Truss called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “desperate rogue operator” who she said was ripping up the global order and outfoxing international institutions.

But she also singled out China, which has refused to condemn the Russian operation, while increasing imports from Russia.

“China is not impervious. They will not continue to rise if they do not play by the rules,” she said.

Russia warns of terrorism in Moldova

Russia on Thursday warned of “acts of terrorism” in Moldova’s region of Transnistria after separatist authorities reported several attacks there this week.

“We are alarmed by the escalation of tensions in Transnistria,” Zakharova said during her weekly briefing, pointing to reports of shootings and explosions in the region.

Russia, she said, considers these incidents as “acts of terrorism aimed at destabilizing the situation in the region”.

A Russian general previously announced that Moscow’s operation in Ukraine was partly aimed at creating a land corridor through southern Ukraine to Transnistria.

Russia accuses US of division plot in Ukraine

Russia’s foreign spy chief accused the US and Poland of plotting to gain a sphere of influence in Western Ukraine, signaling the Western plans to implement a forced partition of Ukraine.

“According to the intelligence received by Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, Washington and Warsaw are working on plans to establish Poland's tight military and political control over its historical possessions in Ukraine,” Sergei Naryshkin, the chief of SVR, said.

The SVR revealed of a plan by the US, under which, Polish forces without a NATO mandate would enter parts of western Ukraine under the disguise of “peacekeeping”.

Poland is one of Ukraine’s strongest supporters in its conflict with Russia, sending weapons across the border.

Ruble in 'liberated' areas

A Russian official said Thursday that the ruble will soon be introduced in areas of Ukraine under Moscow’s control, after Russian forces made successful advances in south and eastern Ukraine.

A military administrator of the Russian-controlled region of Kherson in southern Ukraine said Moscow would introduce its currency in the region within the coming days.

“Beginning May 1, we will move to the ruble zone,” Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti cited the official Kirill Stremousov as saying.

However, he clarified that there would be a grace period of four months, when Ukraine's currency, the hryvnia, could also be used.

The Russian government announced earlier this week that its forces have taken control of the entire Kherson region, including its eponymous administrative capital, and “peaceful life” was being restored to the region.

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