Russia says US sending Ukraine advanced rocket systems 'adding fuel to the fire'

Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. The Ukraine government has since asked for such weaponry in an effort to stop Russian forces

Updated: June 2, 2022 - 8:36am

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Russia is sharply criticizing the Biden administration for supplying advanced rocket systems and munitions to Ukraine in the country's efforts to end the Russian invasion, saying the U.S. is "adding fuel to the fire."

"We believe that the United States is purposefully and diligently adding fuel to the fire," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday, according to Reuters.

His comments follow the administration saying earlier this week it will send Ukraine a small number of medium-range rocket systems. The high-tech rockets are part of a new $700 million package of security assistance headed to Ukraine from the U.S. that will also include helicopters, Javelin anti-tank missiles and tactical vehicles, according to the Associated Press.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov when asked whether Biden's decision to send the rockets increases the chances of a third country becoming involved in the months-long conflict, replied: "Such risks certainly exist."

He also seems to put much of the blame for the decision on Ukraine, saying it was a "direct provocation" by the neighboring country, which has asked for such weaponry, "aimed at involving the West in military action."

Senior U.S. officials say Washington agreed to supply the rockets, which are capable of hitting targets as far away as 50 miles, after Ukraine gave "assurances" it will not use the missiles to strike inside Russia itself, the Reuters also reports.

Peskov made no threat of retaliation but said the additional rocket systems would not encourage Ukraine's leadership to resume stalled peace talks.

However, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov reportedly said, "Any arms shipments that continue, that are on the rise, increase the risks" of a direct confrontation between the United States and Russia.

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