Russia reacts to US, Germany tank deliveries to Ukraine: ‘Direct involvement in the conflict’
Russia responded Thursday for the first time regarding the decision by President Biden to send Abrams M1 tanks to Ukraine, accusing it of “direct involvement in the conflict.”
During his Wednesday announcement, Biden said the shipment of tanks that he classified as the “most capable tanks in the world” were not “an offensive threat to Russia.”
However, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov clapped back at this and said, “There are constant statements from European capitals and Washington that the sending of various weapons systems to Ukraine, including tanks, in no way signifies the involvement of these countries or the alliance in hostilities in Ukraine.”
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“We categorically disagree with this, and in Moscow, everything that the alliance and the capitals I mentioned are doing is seen as direct involvement in the conflict. We see that this is growing,” he told reporters, according to Reuters Thursday.
Russian officials have repeatedly accused the U.S. and NATO allies of being directly involved in the conflict despite the lack of Western troops in the war.
Senior defense officials described the Abrams tanks as the “best in the world” in a background call Wednesday, but Moscow has remained largely unreactive to the news from Washington despite accusing Germany of escalating the war following its decision to send Leopard 2 tanks earlier on Wednesday.
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“This extremely dangerous decision takes the conflict to a new level of confrontation,” Russian Ambassador to Germany Sergei Nechayev said Wednesday, adding that the decision to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine was the “final refusal to recognize its historical responsibility to our people for Nazi crimes.”
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also claimed it was proof of “a war planned in advance” – echoing Moscow’s false claims that NATO was planning aggressive action against Russia in the lead up to the war.
Russian media has also down-played the decision by Washington with one TASS report claiming that Abrams tanks are “vulnerable” to Soviet-era weapons.
One retired Russian general also reportedly told the state-owned outlet that Abrams tanks are “weakly suited for operation on dusty terrain like in Ukraine.”
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The coverage shows a stark comparison to Moscow’s reaction when the U.S. first approved HIMARS for deployment in Ukraine, which prompted subsequent warnings over providing long-range strike capabilities and threats of nuclear escalation.
Russian took a similar tactic following the announcement last month that the U.S. and Germany would send Patriot missile systems to Ukraine – one of the worlds most advanced air defense systems but which Russian President Vladimir Putin described as “quite old.”
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