U.S. Extends Ukraine War by Sending Arms, Rejecting Ceasefire
Russia’s envoy to the United States has warned that Washington was only fueling further conflict between Moscow and Kiev by sending additional military equipment to Ukraine and rejecting the Kremlin’s latest ceasefire directive.
In comments shared with Newsweek from the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC, Ambassador Anatoly Antonov criticized the US decision to send Bradley Fighting Vehicles, part of a $3 billion military package, to Ukraine, calling it “confirmation that our interlocutors in the United States have not even tried to listen to our many calls to consider the possible consequences of such a dangerous course from Washington”.
“It is finally becoming clear to the entire international community that in 2014 the US launched a real proxy war against Russia by supporting Nazi criminals in Kiev,” Antonov argued.
That year saw a political uprising in the Ukrainian capital that brought a pro-Western government to power, while a pro-Moscow separatist insurgency erupted in the country’s eastern Donbas region. Russia, accusing Ukraine of fueling extremism, meanwhile occupied the Crimean peninsula and soon annexed it in a controversial international referendum.
Since then, the US and a number of NATO allies have armed and trained Ukrainian forces, while Kiev and its supporters have accused Moscow of an eight-year war of covert aggression. Russian troops launched an all-out assault on the neighboring country in February, annexing four more regions – the self-proclaimed Donbas republics of Donetsk and Luhansk as well as Kherson and Zaporizhzhia – in another series of unrecognized votes and fueling increased support western for Ukraine.
And while the White House maintained that such weapons were only intended to defend Ukrainian territory, Antonov asserted that “any talk of a ‘defensive nature’ of weapons supplied to Ukraine has long since become absurd.”
“The administration’s actions encourage Ukrainian radicals to continue their terrible deeds,” Antonov said. “With each successive arms transfer, their sense of impunity grows stronger. They continue to kill civilians in the Donbas, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions of the Russian Federation in an extremely cynical manner.”
Soldiers of the 55th Ukrainian Artillery Brigade operate on the front line with a US-made M777 Howitzer cannon amid artillery battles on December 29, 2022, in Bakhmut, Ukraine. Much of the Donetsk region has been held by Russian-linked separatists since 2014, and Russia has been trying to expand its control there since the war began on February 24. Pierre Crom/Getty Images
Kiev has strongly denied such accusations, as well as the notion that the former Soviet republic and its aspirations to join the NATO alliance posed any threat to its biggest neighbor. As the war over these four regions continued to rage, the administration of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has also charged his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin with war crimes over allegations that Russian troops committed atrocities.
And as US and allied aid continues to flow into Ukraine, Antonov was particularly critical of the fact that the latest decision to send Bradley fighting vehicles was revealed after a phone call between US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Condemning the West’s role in the wider conflict, Antonov claimed that former leaders Angela Merkel of Germany and Francois Hollande of France had previously “confessed” that “the Minsk agreements served to give Kiev time to increase its capabilities his military”.
The series of agreements signed in 2014 and 2015 between Kiev and the separatists brokered by the two European heads of state were aimed at halting the conflict, but plagued by regular allegations of violations by both sides. Antonov said the latest developments were evidence of a long-running conspiracy to undermine Russia against the backdrop of failed diplomacy.
“In view of the close ties between Washington and Berlin, it becomes clear that the West under the leadership of the US simply deceived our country and began to deliberately weaken Russia much earlier than February 24, 2022,” Antonov said. “How can the politicians of the major states of Western Europe be trusted if and when the moment comes to talk about the future world order, the system and the substance of the agreements that may be needed for this purpose?”
The conflict has severely strained Russia’s ties with the US and its allies, who have joined Zelenskiy in demanding that Putin withdraw his troops from Ukraine. But Antonov said that, given the course of events, “nobody should still be in doubt as to who is responsible for the prolongation of this conflict.”
“All the actions of the administration show a lack of any desire for a political solution,” Antonov said.
This, he argued, extended to the Kremlin’s decision on Thursday “to introduce a ceasefire along the entire line of contact in Ukraine” for 36 hours between January 6 and 7, which coincides with Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, as celebrated by Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox. The churches. The order followed an appeal by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and was to allow observers to “attend church services” on these holy days.
It also came shortly after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has managed to broker a grain deal and prisoner swap between Moscow and Kiev throughout the conflict, spoke separately to Putin and Zelensky.
U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to Cutthroat Company, 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, practice engaging enemy targets with a combat vehicle M2 Bradley during a platoon live-fire exercise at the Pabrade Training Area, October 13, Lithuania, , 2022. The U.S. is poised to send armored combat vehicles to Ukraine as part of ongoing efforts to strengthen the country’s capabilities to repulsed the Russian forces. Specialist Casandra B. Ancheta/US Army National Guard
While Zelensky thanked Erdogan for his efforts in achieving peace, the Ukrainian leader and his officials have rejected Putin’s ceasefire. Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov was particularly harsh in his dismissal.
“How does a bunch of little Kremlin devils connect with a Christian holiday? Who will believe the scum who kill children, bomb maternity hospitals, torture prisoners? A ceasefire? Lies and hypocrisy,” Danilov tweeted. “We will bite you in the singing silence of the Ukrainian night.”
US officials were also critical.
Pentagon Press Secretary Brigadier General Scott Ryder said that “there is significant skepticism both here in the US and around the world right now, given her long history of propaganda, disinformation and relentless attacks against Ukrainian cities and civilians “.
“So, of course, from our perspective, if Russia was really interested in stopping the violence and bloodshed that they have brought upon the people of Ukraine, they would immediately withdraw from Ukraine and this war would end all together now,” Ryder said. . “But it looks like that won’t be the case, so our focus will continue to be on supporting Ukraine with its security assistance needs as they struggle to defend their country.”
State Department spokesman Ned Price called the move “cynical” because of Russian attacks in Ukraine that coincided with New Year’s Day. He expressed “concern” that “the Russians would seek to use any temporary lull in the fighting to rest, regroup, regroup and ultimately re-attack.”
As for Biden, he called the move an attempt by his Russian counterpart to “find some oxygen” amid the grueling conflict rather than a genuine gesture to end hostilities.
Antonov particularly noted the reaction of the American leader in line with the recent announcement of more military equipment in Ukraine.
“All this means that Washington is committed to fighting with us ‘to the last Ukrainian,'” Antonov said, “while the fate of the Ukrainian people means nothing to the US.”