‘Nothing will dissuade’ the US from arming Ukraine – White House
The United States intends to keep flushing weapons into Ukraine, despite Russia's warning of "consequences," Washington stated.
"Nothing will dissuade" the Biden administration from pouring weapons into Ukraine, State Department spokesman Ned Price told CNN on Friday. Russia reportedly sent a diplomatic cable to Washington, warning of "unpredictable consequences" if arms shipments continue.
“The Russians have said some things privately, they have said some things publicly; nothing will dissuade us from the strategy that we’ve embarked on,” Price told CNN’s Kate Bolduan.
If the Kremlin is concerned that the Biden administration is “providing billions of dollars worth of security assistance to our Ukrainian partners … then we’re guilty as charged,” he added.
Since Russia launched its operation in February, the US has delivered more than $2.5 billion in weaponry and other military aid to Ukraine. After initially sending thousands of anti-tank missiles and ammunition to the war-torn country, the Biden administration has since delivered heavier armaments to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's regime.
President Joe Biden approved the latest arms package on Wednesday, which includes helicopters, heavy artillery, and autonomous kamikaze drones. According to a different CNN report on Friday, the first flight of these weapons should arrive in Eastern Europe the following day.
On Tuesday, Russia reportedly sent a diplomatic cable to the US, accusing the US and its NATO allies of violating "rigorous principles" governing the transfer of weapons to conflict zones, as well as being blind to the "threat of high-precision weapons falling into the hands of radical nationalists, extremists, and bandit forces in Ukraine."
Kiev's policy of arming civilians and paramilitary organizations to repel Russian soldiers has already had unintended repercussions, with stories of gang warfare, looting, and extrajudicial killings emerging from Ukraine since the conflict began.
According to the letter, Moscow accuses NATO of forcing Ukraine to abandon talks with Russia "to extend the bloodbath," and it slams Washington for urging states with Soviet-era weaponry to provide them to Ukraine.
“We call on the United States and its allies to stop the irresponsible militarization of Ukraine, which implies unpredictable consequences for regional and international security,” said the note, according to the Washington Post.
The veracity of the diplomatic cable has not been confirmed by either Washington or Moscow. On Friday, Price reiterated his stance, telling CNN that he was "not in a position to corroborate any confidential diplomatic correspondence."
However, given the assurances Biden made to Zelensky's government before the war began, he believes the Kremlin "shouldn't be astonished" by the size of the US weaponry shipment to Ukraine.
Following Ukraine's refusal to fulfill the conditions of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow's subsequent recognition of the Donbas republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, Russia launched an operation on the neighboring state in late February. The Minsk Protocol, negotiated by Germany and France, was intended to grant special status to the separatist areas within the Ukrainian state.
Since then, the Kremlin has demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the NATO military alliance led by the United States. Kiev maintains that the Russian operation was utterly unprovoked and denies that it intended to seize the two republics by force.