Putin warns that Russia could supply arms to other countries to strike west

Putin warns that Russia could supply arms to other countries to strike west

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Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has slammed the west’s delivery of long-range weapons to Ukraine, warning Moscow could supply similar arms to other countries to attack western targets.

“If someone thinks it is possible to supply such weapons to a war zone to attack our territory and create problems for us, why don’t we have the right to supply our weapons,” Putin told a press conference in St Petersburg.

His comments came after a a US senator and a western official confirmed that Ukraine has recently used US weapons to strike inside Russia.

The weapons were used under recently approved guidance from Joe Biden allowing American arms to be used to strike inside Russia for the limited purpose of defending Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city.

The Republican senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota, a member of the Senate armed services committee, confirmed the strikes with US weapons, but did not say how he was briefed.

Biden’s directive allows for US-supplied weapons to be used to strike Russian forces that are attacking or preparing to attack. It does not change US policy that directs Ukraine not to use American-provided army tactical missile systems (Atacms) or long-range missiles and other munitions to strike offensively inside Russia, US officials have said.

Berlin also recently authorized Ukraine to hit some targets on Russian soil with German-supplied long-range weapons, a move Putin said would be a “dangerous step” that would ruin relations between Berlin and Moscow.

Ukrainian officials had stepped up calls on the US and other allies to allow Kyiv’s forces to defend themselves against attacks originating from Russian territory. Kharkiv sits just 20km (12 miles) from the Russian border and has come under intensified Russian attack.

According to a 3 June report from the Institute for the Study of War, Ukrainian forces struck a Russian S-300/400 air defense battery in the Belgorod region, probably with a high mobility artillery rocket system, or Himars, on 1 or 2 June. The air defense system was located roughly 60km (40 miles) from the current frontline in the northern Kharkiv region and more than 80km from the city of Kharkiv, which is within the range of Himars, the institute reported.

Putin on Wednesday also said that the US administration was taking “energetic steps” to try to secure the release of a detained Wall Street Journal reporter but said such questions could only be resolved on the basis of reciprocity.

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Putin added talks with US intelligence agencies on the subject were ongoing, but needed to be conducted in “silence”.

Gershkovich, a 32-year-old reporter for the Wall Street Journal, has been held in the Lefortovo prison on the outskirts of Moscow since March last year on allegations by the Russian authorities of espionage while on a reporting trip in the city of Ekaterinburg. The state department has declared him wrongfully detained, and Gershkovich denies spying, and Joe Biden said his administration is working “every day” to get him released.

 

The Guradian