Russia promises further advances as Putin uses US HIMARS systems as ‘scapegoat’

A senior Russian official said Moscow will respond to the continued supply of Western arms to Kiev’s armed forces.

Alexander Darchiev’s comments come amid praise from Kiev for the effectiveness of American military aid, such as the US-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), whose speed and range have dealt blows to Russian forces.

Darchiev, director of the Russian foreign ministry’s North America branch, told the TASS news agency that “boosting Ukraine with more long-range weapon systems” will result in “the geographic tasks of the special operation being pushed back even further.”

“Russia cannot allow the remaining Ukrainian territory to contain weapons that pose a direct threat to our country,” he said, referring to the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics and the “liberated regions”.

Darchiev also told the agency that “the extent of Washington’s influence on Kyiv exceeds all conceivable limits.”

M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System
U.S. military personnel stand next to an M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) at Saudi Arabia’s World Defense Show in Riyadh March 6, 2022. The Russian Defense Ministry has accused the US of direct involvement in the war in Ukraine.
FAYEZ NURELDINE/Getty Images

“In addition to large-scale military and financial aid and moral support for the Zelenskyi regime, Americans are increasingly becoming a direct party to the conflict,” he said.

He repeated the Russian Defense Ministry’s claims that the Ukrainian military conducted HIMARS attacks in collusion with US partners.

He said that the “deadly shelling of civilians” in the DPR, LPR and Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine is “taking place at least with the consent of American decision-making centers.”

news week has reached out to the US State Department for comment.

Darchiev’s comments coincide with a statement by Russia’s Defense Ministry earlier this month that the US was responsible for providing targeting information used by Kyiv for long-range missile strikes in Donbass and other regions.

“Washington is directly involved in the conflict in Ukraine, contrary to claims by the White House and the Pentagon,” it said.

While the Biden administration has said it has provided more than $9 billion in security aid to Kyiv, it has denied involvement in Ukraine’s war with Russia.

However, experts have said that Putin could use the West-supplied weapons as a scapegoat for Russia’s failures on the battlefield and show the Russian people that the war is being waged directly with the West.

Michael Kimmage, a former member of the US Secretary of State’s planning staff, previously said news week this would also help Putin build the case that he was pushed into the conflict by the West, “and that the West is using Ukraine… to weaken Russia”.

In his interview, Darchiev also warned that the US adding Russia to the US State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism could trigger a total breakdown in relations between the two countries.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) has introduced legislation that would put Russia on a list of designated state sponsors of terrorism with four other co-sponsors in a bill.

However, Darchiev said that if the law were passed, it would mean that Washington would have passed “the point of no return with the heaviest collateral damage to bilateral diplomatic relations.”

https://www.newsweek.com/russia-ukraine-alexander-darchiev-himars-vladimir-putin-scapegoat-1733423 Russia promises further advances as Putin uses US HIMARS systems as ‘scapegoat’

Rick Schindler

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