The United States is “escalating” the tense situation between Kiev and Moscow by sending weapons and military advisers to Ukraine, the Kremlin said Tuesday.
The comments come after CNN reported, citing unnamed sources familiar with the deliberations, that the Biden administration is considering sending Javelin anti-tank missiles, stinger air defense missiles and military advisers to Ukraine amid Western concerns of getting caught by surprise with a possible Russian invasion in January.
The Pentagon has also reportedly been pressing Washington to redirect equipment including Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters from its original destination of Afghanistan to Ukraine.
President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said military advisers and weapons systems are arriving in Ukraine “not only from the U.S. but other NATO countries.”
“This all leads to further escalation,” the state-run TASS news agency quoted Peskov as saying.
Peskov also accused the Ukrainian armed forces of making “provocations” with the possible goal of reclaiming southeastern territories lost during its war with pro-Moscow rebels.
“We are deeply concerned about the provocative actions of the Ukrainian armed forces on the line of contact and preparations for a possible military solution of the Donbass problem,” he added, referring to the separatist-held Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine.
Peskov previously dismissed the claims of Russian troops massing near the Ukraine border as “hysteria” and as non-threatening domestic military moves.
“Who’ll be attacking whom? Russia — Ukraine or Ukraine — Russia?” Peskov asked. “We assert that Ukraine is planning aggressive actions against Donbass.”
Putin previously blamed the West for “escalating” the Ukraine conflict with Black Sea drills and U.S. bomber flights near Russian borders.
Russia’s SVR spy agency on Monday dismissed claims of plans to invade Ukraine in a rare statement.
Russia has been accused by the West of funding and arming pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine since the outbreak of conflict there in 2014, claims Moscow denies.