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Western Arms Shipments to Ukraine Endanger Europe, Kremlin Says

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. kremlin.ru

Western countries’ increased supply of military assistance and weaponry to Ukraine endangers the whole of Europe, the Kremlin said Thursday.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov’s comments came as British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss called on all Western countries to double their military support for Kyiv and start shipping heavy weapons to Ukraine to help the country defend against Russia’s invasion.

"The tendency to pump weapons, including heavy weapons into Ukraine, these are the actions that threaten the security of the continent, provoke instability," Peskov told reporters.

Peskov’s words were echoed by Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, who claimed the arms shipments could end up in the hands of terrorists.

“There are clear parallels with the Syrian case, where the West sent massive weapons supplies to the so-called moderate Syrian opposition, but [the weapons] were sold on the black market and ended up in the hands of Islamic State terrorists,” Zakharova said Thursday.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky has been pleading for heavier firepower to push back the Russian advance in the east, but allies are wary of being drawn into a conflict that could spiral into an outright military confrontation between Moscow and NATO.

The United States, the leading supplier of military aid to Ukraine, has earmarked over $1 billion in security assistance to Kyiv since the start of Russia's invasion, including Javelin anti-tank missiles, Switchblade combat drones and howitzers.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office said last week that London is providing Kyiv with more defensive military aid, including protected mobility vehicles, drones and anti-tank weapons.

Germany also said this week it will start shipping heavy weapons to Ukraine. 

Russia has repeatedly complained about Western countries’ military support for Ukraine since Moscow launched its invasion on Feb. 24.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a stark warning against countries that would seek to interfere in the Kremlin’s “special military operation” there, saying: “if anyone sets out to intervene in the current events from the outside ... they should know that our response ... will be lightning-fast.”

Islamic State is a terrorist organization banned in Russia.

AFP contributed reporting.

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