Russia official warns West of destruction for arming Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament warned Sunday that countries supplying Ukraine with more powerful weapons could be destroyed themselves. Kyiv requested battle tanks.

Supporters of Ukraine pledged billions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine at a meeting at Germany’s Ramstein Air Base on Friday, but new commitments were overshadowed by the failure to materialize. Agree on Ukraine’s urgent request for German-made Leopard 2 battle tanks.

State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin said that governments giving Ukraine more powerful weapons “could lead to a global tragedy that would destroy their own country.”

“Supplying offensive weapons to the Kiev regime will lead to a global catastrophe,” he said. “If Washington and NATO provide weapons that can be used to attack peaceful cities and try to invade our territory, as they have threatened, it will prompt a response with even more powerful weapons.”

Germany is one of Ukraine’s main arms donors, and it has ordered a review of its Leopard 2 stockpile in preparation for a possible green light. Nevertheless, the Berlin government is cautious at every step of increasing its commitments to Ukraine. and political culture.

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday he would not rule out sending Leclerc tanks to Ukraine and asked his defense minister to “work on” the idea.

Macron spoke with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz during a press conference in Paris to mark the 60th anniversary of their countries’ post-World War II friendship pact. In a joint declaration, France and Germany pledged “unlimited support” to Ukraine.

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France will base its decision on the tank on three criteria, Macron said: sharing equipment would not escalate the conflict, would provide effective and viable assistance given the timing of the exercise, and would not. Weakens France’s own army.

Scholz did not respond to a question about the Leopard 2 tanks on Sunday, but emphasized that his country has already made significant military contributions to Ukraine.

“The US is doing a lot, Germany is doing a lot more,” he said. “We’ve constantly expanded our offerings with the most effective tools available today. And we have always closely coordinated all of these decisions with our important allies and friends.”

Germany’s alleged move has been criticized, especially by Poland and the Baltic states, NATO’s eastern wing countries that are particularly threatened by Russia’s new aggression.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that if Germany does not agree to transfer Leopard tanks to Ukraine, his country is ready to form a “small coalition” of countries that will send them anyway.

“Almost a year has passed since the war began,” Morawiecki said in an interview with Polish state news agency PAP published on Sunday. “Evidence of the war crimes of the Russian army can be seen on TV and on YouTube. What more is needed for Germany to open its eyes and start acting according to the potential of the German state?”

In Washington, two leading lawmakers urged the United States on Sunday to send some of its Abrams tanks to Ukraine to overcome Germany’s reluctance to share its more suitable tanks.

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“If we announced that we were going to give the Abrams tank, it would free up the flow of tanks from Germany,” Michael McCaul, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told ABC’s “This Friday and Sunday.” “I hear Germany is waiting for our leadership.”

Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also advocated for the US to send Abrams.

“If Germany, Poland and other allies were asked to send some of our Abrams tanks to receive Leopard tanks, I would support that,” Coons said.

Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, said the US-initiated meeting at an air base in Germany “left no doubt that our enemies will try to wear us out or, better yet, destroy us.” achieve the goal.

As former Russian President Medvedev warned in his messenger app, “if the conflict drags on for a long time,” Russia may “try to form a military alliance with the Americans and nations fed up with their castrated dogs.” ”

Ukraine is asking for more weapons as it expects Russian forces to launch a new offensive in the spring.

Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s Security and Defense Council, has warned that Russia may increase its offensive in the south and east and try to cut off arms supply channels from the west, while seizing Kiev remains President Vladimir Putin’s “main dream”. “fantasies,” he said.

In the column published by the online newspaper “Ukrainskaya Pravda”. he described the Kremlin’s goal in the conflict as “total and absolute genocide, a war of total destruction.”

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Among those calling for more weapons for Ukraine is former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who made a surprise visit to Ukraine on Sunday. Johnson, who was filmed in Borodyanka, Kyiv region, said he visited Ukraine at the invitation of President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Now is the time to double down and give Ukrainians all the tools to get the job done. The sooner Putin fails, the better for Ukraine and the world,” Johnson said in a statement.

The last week has been particularly sad Even by the standards of Ukraine’s nearly year-long war, which killed tens of thousands, uprooted millions, and caused massive destruction of Ukrainian cities.

On January 14, about 45 civilians were killed when Russian rockets hit a residential complex in the city of Dnipro in the southeast of the country. On Wednesday, a government helicopter crashed into a kindergarten building on the outskirts of Kyiv. Among the 14 people killed were the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, other officials and a child lying on the ground.

Zelensky promised on Sunday that Ukraine will eventually win the war.

“We are strong because we are united. We are strong because we are united,” the Ukrainian leader said in a video address celebrating the Unity Day of Ukraine, when the east and west of Ukraine were united in 1919.

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Contributed by Sylvie Corbett in Paris.

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For AP Ukraine war coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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