Russia’s embassy in Washington warned the State Department this week that continued shipments of weapons to Ukraine from the US and NATO could cause “unpredictable consequences” as Moscow’s weeks-long invasion of its western neighbor rages on, according to multiple reports.
The diplomatic note, dated Tuesday, was delivered in the same week that President Biden announced $800 million in additional military aid to Ukraine, including heavy weapons and Soviet-made Mi-17 helicopters.
In the document, a copy of which was reviewed by the Washington PostRussia called on the US and its allies “to stop the irresponsible militarization [sic] of Ukraine, which implies unpredictable consequences for regional and international security.”
The Kremlin also accused NATO and the US of violating “rigorous principles” regarding the transport of weapons into conflict zones, saying there was a threat of “high-precision weapons falling into the hands of radical nationalists, extremists and bandit forces in Ukraine.”
Russia also accused NATO of hindering peace negotiations between the Kremlin and Ukraine “in order to continue the bloodshed” and alleged that Washington had been pressing other nations to cease military and technical cooperation with Russia.
The State Department declined to confirm “any private diplomatic correspondence” when contacted by The Post Friday morning.
“What we can confirm is that, along with Allies and partners, we are providing Ukraine with billions of dollars worth of security assistance, which our Ukrainian partners are using to extraordinary effect to defend their country against Russia’s unprovoked aggression and horrific acts of violence, ” a department spokesman added.
“The Russian Federation shouldn’t be surprised by this,” chief State Department spokesman Ned Price told CNN Friday. “We warned the Kremlin, we warned Moscow long before this aggression started that if [Russian President] Vladimir Putin went forward with his plan, we would do three things: We would provide unprecedented levels of security assistance to our Ukrainian partners — what we’re doing, that goes above and beyond what we provided them, well, before this invasion started — we would mount unprecedented costs on the Kremlin… in terms of the economic sanctions and other measures… and that we would reinforce and reassure NATO. We have done those three things.”
“President Putin may not have been aware of this before but on all three counts, the United States has not bluffed,” Price added.
On Wednesday, Biden announced the latest tranche of military aid following an hour-long phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. The latest package includes 18 155mm Howitzer artillery pieces with 40,000 rounds of ammunition, 200 M113 armored personnel carriers, 100 Humvees, 10 counter-artillery radar systems, two air defense radar systems and an unspecified number of unmanned coastal defense drones.
“The steady supply of weapons the United States and its allies and partners have provided to Ukraine has been critical in sustaining its fight against the Russian invasion,” Biden said in a statement.
“It has helped ensure that [Vladimir] Putin failed in his initial war aims to conquer and control Ukraine. We cannot rest now.”
As the Kyiv government prepares to receive the aid, it is also gearing up to face off against Russian troops in the eastern Donbas region, as Putin’s forces have retreated from the areas around Kyiv for resupply.