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Moscow: Biden, Zelensky turning deaf ear to ‘Russia’s concerns’

The Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov

Moscow says Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his American counterpart Joe Biden have been turning a deaf ear to “Russia’s concerns,” as in his first wartime foreign trip Zelensky urged Biden in Washington to provide Kiev with more weapons.

During a lightning trip to Washington on Wednesday, Zelensky met with Biden and addressed Congress, urging the White House to supply Ukraine with “more weapons” in its 10-month-long war with Russia.

Biden committed to provide Kiev with nearly $1.8 billion in military supplies, including, for the first time, the Patriot missile defense system.

At a press conference on Thursday, the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow could “say with regret that so far neither President Biden nor President Zelensky have said even a few words that could be perceived as potential readiness to listen to Russia's concerns.”

“Not a single word was heard warning Zelensky against the continued shelling of residential buildings in towns and villages in Donbas and there were no real calls for peace,” he said. “This suggests that the United States is continuing its line of de facto fighting an indirect war with Russia to the last Ukrainian.”

Russia started what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine with the declared aim of “de-Nazifying” the country on February 24, after Kiev failed to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements and Moscow’s recognition of the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. Since the onset of the war, the US and its European allies have imposed waves of unprecedented economic sanctions against Moscow while supplying large consignments of heavy weaponry to Kiev. The Kremlin says the sanctions and the Western military assistance will prolong the war.

Despite the flow of financial and military support, particularly from Washington, the government in Kiev says still more is needed to tip the balance in Ukraine's favor in the war.

On December 9, Washington officially announced its decision to send another arms package to Kiev, which will include anti-drone and air defense systems.

The aid package, which reportedly includes rockets for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), 155mm ammunition, Humvee vehicles, and generators, is estimated to be worth $275 million. The United States has also sent some $20 billion worth of weapons to Kiev, including artillery ammunition, munitions for NASAMS air defense systems and for HIMARS.

Early this week, Zelensky asked European leaders for more air defense systems, tanks and weapons, against the backdrop of the protracted war with Russia.

Hours before Zelensky’s departure to Washington, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow would next year keep on developing its military potential and the combat readiness of its nuclear forces.

Kremlin: US Patriot missiles won’t help end war in Ukraine

Elsewhere in his remarks on Thursday, Peskov said the US supplies of Patriot missile systems to Ukraine would not help end the conflict, and that it would not prevent Russia from achieving its goals. Peskov said there had been no signs of readiness for peace talks during Zelensky’s trip, warning that this was evidence that the US was fighting a proxy war with Russia “to the last Ukrainian.”

Russian defense minister visits troops on frontline

Separately on Thursday, Russia's Defense Ministry said in a statement that Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited troops "on the frontline" and "talked to servicemen and thanked them."

In footage released by the ministry, Shoigu was seen inspecting barracks and walking through trenches, saying he "checked the conditions for the deployment of personnel and military equipment... and inspected the positions of military units, the accommodation and heating conditions for the staff."

A day earlier, Shoigu said Russian forces were destroying Ukraine’s military potential and accused the West of trying to “drag out” the war. He also admitted that the mobilization drive, which called up 300,000 reservists to the armed forces, proved a severe test for the country and the army but said it boosted Russia’s combat capabilities.

The minister proposed raising the age range for mandatory military service to cover citizens aged 21-30 as he said forces would continue fighting in Ukraine next year.

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