Russia warns against deepening of NATO’s involvement Ukraine War

MOSCOW: Russia says the delivery of NATO battle tanks to Ukraine is evidence of “direct and growing” US and European involvement in the war, with one analyst suggesting supplying nations could become potential targets.
The comments come after the United States and Germany on Wednesday said they would arm Ukraine with dozens of heavy tanks in its fight against Russian forces.
“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,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.
“We categorically disagree with this and, in Moscow, everything the alliance and the capitals I mentioned are doing is seen as direct involvement in the conflict. We see that this is growing.”
Kyiv has been seeking hundreds of modern tanks to give its troops the firepower to break Russian defensive lines and reclaim occupied territory in Ukraine’s south and east. Ukraine and Russia have been relying primarily on Soviet-era T-72 tanks.
Russia, which launched the war by invading Ukraine on February 24 last year, has increasingly portrayed the conflict as a confrontation with NATO.
Sergey Karaganov, a former adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, said NATO’s weapons deliveries could result in possible military retaliation against the nations supplying them.
“By sending tanks, the NATO countries are becoming more openly involved in the war and that makes them potential targets,” he told media. Karaganov also blamed NATO for starting the conflict in Ukraine.
“It is not exactly a Russian-Ukraine war; it is a Russian-Western war. Ukrainians are used as cannon fodder and the leadership is basically marionettes. The West has been advancing and preparing to attack Russia, and Russia decided to strike openly first. But it has been 25 years of NATO expansion.”
Despite the vast arms supplies by the West, Karaganov predicted a Russian victory. “Eventually, Russia will destroy Ukraine’s military and the country will be fully de-militarised. The neo-Nazi regime there will be finished,” he said.