A senior Russian parliament official warns of a ‘global tragedy’ if Ukraine gets new weapons from allies as the bitter fight between the two nations nears the 11-month mark.
Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the State Duma – Russia’s lower house of parliament – issued a disturbing message on Sunday after Kyiv allies pledged to provide more armored vehicles, air defense systems and other equipment to confront the Russian troops.
He said countries sending more powerful weapons could lead to “a global tragedy that would destroy their countries”.
“Supplying offensive weapons to the Kyiv regime would lead to a global catastrophe,” said Volodin, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“If Washington and NATO provide weapons that would be used to strike peaceful cities and attempt to seize our territory as they threaten to do, that would trigger retaliation with more powerful weapons.”
He claimed that US and NATO aid to Ukraine had led to a “terrible war”.
Volodin has held his current position since 2016; previously he held a senior position in the presidential administration. He is also a member of Putin’s Security Council, giving him regular access to the president.
As supporters pledged to send billions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine during a meeting at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Friday, a deal was not reached at the urgent request of the Ukraine for German-made Leopard 2 battle tanks.
The transfer of these tanks must be approved by Berlin even if they are in the possession of other NATO countries.
When German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was asked about the tanks at a joint press conference with France on Sunday in Paris, he veered off course, instead highlighting the important contributions Germany has already made to Ukraine.
“The United States is doing a lot, Germany is doing a lot too,” he said as Germany faces criticism for its caution, especially from Poland and other Baltic states. .
The head of German diplomacy said on Sunday that if Poland sent tanks to Ukraine, German officials would not oppose it.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told French TV channel LCI that while Poland has not asked for formal approval, “if they asked us, we wouldn’t stand in the way”.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has promised to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine with a “smaller coalition” of countries even if Germany does not give his country the green light.
French President Emmanuel Macron said at the same press conference in Paris that he did not rule out sending Leclerc battle tanks to Ukraine. One of the factors guiding France’s decision would be whether transferring tanks would lead to an escalation of the conflict, he said.
France and Germany were celebrating 60 years of post-World War II friendship during remarks by the two world leaders.
Meanwhile, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) on Sunday urged the United States to send Abrams tanks to Ukraine to counter Germany’s hesitation.
“If it requires us to send in Abrams tanks to unlock getting Leopard tanks from Germany, Poland, other allies, I would support that,” Coons said on ABC’s “This Week.”
Ukraine has asked for more weapons in recent weeks to prepare for a possible new Russian offensive in the spring.
Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, said the meeting at the German air base “leaves no doubt that our enemies will try to wear us down or better yet destroy us”, while admitting “that they have enough weapons” to do so.
He said if the war, which began on February 24, 2022, drags on, it could lead to Russia forming a military alliance with “nations that are fed up with Americans and a pack of their neutered dogs.”
Medvedev, a former Russian president, warned last week that nuclear war could follow if Russia lost the war to Ukraine.
With post wires