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Ukraine acknowledges receiving sophisticated American missile systems

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)
The National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) (File photo)

Ukraine acknowledges being in receipt of advanced American missile systems, despite Russia's warnings that "pumping" the ex-Soviet republic with arms would only exacerbate the conflict there.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in an interview broadcast on Sunday that Ukraine had received the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS), a networked short- to medium-range ground-based military machine.

"...I want to thank [US] President [Joe] Biden for a positive decision that has been already made [regarding dispatching of the missile systems]," Zelenskiy said.

Zelenskiy also thanked the United States for equipping Kiev with High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), and other multiple rocket-launching equipment.

Russia began a "special military operation" in Ukraine on February 24, saying it was aimed at “demilitarizing” the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas, which is made up of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics.

Back in 2014, the two republics broke away from Ukraine, refusing to recognize a Western-backed Ukrainian government there that had overthrown a democratically-elected Russia-friendly administration.

Announcing the operation, Putin said the mission was meant to “defend people who for eight years are suffering persecution and genocide by the Kiev regime.”

As well as the short- and medium-range missile systems, the West has equipped Ukraine with long-range weapons that the country has used on several occasions to target the Russian territory.

In what appeared to be an appeal for further unbridled American military support for the Ukrainian military, the Ukrainian president alleged, "...believe me, it (the American military equipment) is not even nearly enough to cover the civilian infrastructure, schools, hospitals, universities, homes of Ukrainians."

Russia has denied targeting any civilian infrastructures during the military campaign.

Zelensky's remarks came less than a week after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the US and its European allies were trying to prolong fighting in Ukraine in order to weaken Russia.

The countries in question were "pumping Ukraine full of weapons, [and] training their soldiers,” the Russian top diplomat told the United Nations Security Council on Thursday.

They are doing so to “drag out the fighting as long as possible in spite of the victims in order to wear down and weaken Russia," he added.

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