Russia Warns Against Supplying Ukraine With Patriot Missiles: Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Thursday threatening consequences if the White House goes ahead with rumored plans to send Patriot missile systems to Ukraine.
While Zakharova did not explicitly state that Russia would consider a military response against Western countries – which has long been the concern for Western leaders when considering sending long-range missile systems – the warning made it clear that this could be an option for Russia. Zakharova warned that the United States should “draw the right conclusions” from the threat.
“Any weapons systems supplied to Ukraine, including the Patriot, along with the personnel servicing them, have been and will remain legitimate priority targets for the Russian armed forces,” Zakharova also said during a weekly briefing on Thursday.
The comments come after Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned earlier this week that, should the plans come to fruition, the missile systems would be considered “legitimate targets” for the Russian military. Peskov also refrained from suggesting that Russia might strike any territory outside of Ukraine, though he did not rule it out.
Is Russia At War With the U.S.?
Russian officials have repeatedly suggested throughout the conflict that the United States and the West are engaging in a proxy war against Russia, citing Western sanctions as an “economic war” and the supply of advanced weapons to Ukraine as a growing escalation.
Zakharova stressed that point once again during Thursday’s briefing, this time claiming that the United States has “effectively become a party” to the war – a consequential suggestion, but one that has yet to result in a direct military response from Russia.
U.S. officials, however, do not appear deterred. Despite previous reluctance to send long-range weapons, Pentagon spokesperson Air Force Gen. Pat Ryder told the press that Russia would not dictate the United States’ plans for continued security assistance to Ukraine.
“I find it ironic and very telling that officials from a country that brutally attacked its neighbor — in an illegal and unprovoked invasion, through a campaign that is deliberately targeting and killing innocent civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure — that they would choose to use words like ‘provocative’ to describe defensive systems that are meant to save lives and protect civilians,” Ryder said.
In a press briefing on Thursday, Ryder also confirmed that the United States will train 500 Ukrainian troops every month beginning in January.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor.