US setting stage for escalation in Ukraine by Abrams delivery: Russia
Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov says Washington's decision to send its main battle tank to Kiev is a very destructive step.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov slammed on Sunday the US decision to deliver its main M1 Abrams battle tank to Ukraine as "an extremely destructive step" and called Washington's step an attempt to "stage a clear-cut escalation scenario in Ukraine."
President Biden announced on Wednesday that the US would send 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine. However, US officials have stated that it will take a few months to finalize the training and delivery process before they can be mobilized on the battlefields in Ukraine. They would most likely not be delivered before the anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive.
Costing around $10 million a piece, the US-made complex battle tank is very difficult to maintain and will pose a logistical challenge to be resupplied as it operates on jet fuel.
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Ryabkov told Sputnik, "Paradoxically, US officials argue that sending a wider range of increasingly modern systems, including heavy weapons systems to Ukraine, is not an escalation."
The Russian top official continued, "In general, the statements of both US and NATO officials have featured a lot of quotes from [George] Orwell lately — 'peace is war' is literally something that is proclaimed every day from high podiums and high offices in the West... So now, following the decision to send Abrams tanks in significant numbers, there is talk that it is not an escalation. [They are] denying the obvious."
He also considered the American decision is aimed to "line up NATO's ranks" and highlighted that the international community is growing "increasingly more concerned" by these developments that are designed and launched by "a group of irresponsible Western politicians."
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Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said earlier this week, commenting on the US announcement of sending M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, that the delivery will become another "blatant provocation" against Russia and warned that the Russian military would destroy the equipment.
According to Antonov the American tanks "without any doubt" will be destroyed along with "all other samples of NATO military equipment."
"This would be another blatant provocation against the Russian Federation. No one should have illusions about who is the real aggressor in the current conflict," Antonov added.
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