Russia says Western-provided weapons in Ukraine are “useless” in fending off its advances, as leaders of Germany, France, and Italy visit Kiev.
Since the onset of Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, the United States and its European allies have been pouring advanced weapons into the ex-Soviet country.
On Thursday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi arrived in Kiev and visited parts of the city. They planned to gather in the capital to discuss the latest developments, with weapons provisions likely to dominate the talks.
Later in the day, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned against new Western weapons supplies to Ukraine.
“I would like to hope that the leaders of these three states and the President of Romania will not only focus on supporting Ukraine by further pumping Ukraine with weapons,” he told at a press conference.
Peskov stressed that the flow of Western weapons to Ukraine would be “absolutely useless and will cause further damage to the country.”
However, Ukraine hopes to outnumber the Russians both technologically and in quantities of artillery in its bid to regain the southeastern Donbas region, composed of two breakaway provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk that Moscow has vowed to “liberate.”
Russia has time and again stressed that the West’s flood of weapons will not force Moscow to end the offensive before achieving its objectives. The Kremlin has warned that the flow of arms into Ukraine will only prolong the war.
Russia has now focused most of its firepower on capturing the major city of Sievierodonetsk in Ukraine’s east while simultaneously trying to cement its control over southern territory, which includes the strategic and already seized city of Kherson, situated north of the Black Sea.
The three visiting European leaders were expected to hold talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
On Thursday, former Russian president and deputy head of the country’s Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, said the European leaders’ visit of Kiev would be of no use.
“European fans of frogs, liverwurst and spaghetti love visiting Kiev. With zero use,” Medvedev tweeted in English. “Promised EU membership … won't bring Ukraine closer to peace,” he stressed.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis also joined Macron, Scholz and Draghi in the battle-scarred Kiev suburb of Irpin.
Moscow: Russia ready for peace talks, Ukraine stalling
Also on Thursday, Russia’s chief negotiator Vladimir Medinsky said the Kremlin was ready to restart peace talks with Ukraine, adding that Kiev, however, had yet to respond to Moscow’s latest proposals.
The two warring sides held intermittent in March, including a high-profile meeting of delegations in Istanbul, Turkey, but no agreement has reached and the talks have stalled.
Medinsky said Kiev was to blame for the lack of progress.