***** FLASH ***** Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov publicly stated late this evening (Moscow time) that “A third country could become involved in the Ukraine conflict, now that the U.S. is sending long-range missiles to Ukraine.“
Lavrov did NOT expand on his meaning.
The possibilities being SPECULATED over this remark are:
1) Another country, like Belarus, might join the fight against Ukraine to assist Russia against the onslaught of NATO weaponry being sent into Ukraine, OR;
2) The country SUPPLYING the new long-range missiles to Ukraine, could become involved by being ATTACKED for sending the weapons. If this is the possibility, then the U.S. might be the one “becoming involved” or a European nation trans-shipping US missiles to Ukraine could be the third country Lavrov speaks about.
Lavrov’s remarks are not clear about what he means, and this type of ambiguity is very unusual for Lavrov and for Russia.
Perhaps that’s the point; within the ambiguity are severe escalation possibilities. Perhaps Russia is allowing that ambiguity to sink-in before letting on what they actually mean.
Either way, Lavrov’s remarks clearly mean one solid thing: escalation. Again.
In some of the Kremlin’s strongest words yet denouncing Western arms shipments, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned Ukraine that newly ramped up arms transfers including US missile systems being sent to Kiev risks drawing a third country into the war.
In the Wednesday statements, he accused Ukraine of seeking to involve outside countries, and slammed the missile transfer as marking a ‘direct provocation’. His words come on the heels of Biden on Tuesday night announcing longer range missile systems for Ukraine, which however likely can’t reach Russian territory, given they are short to “medium range” systems. Moscow previously called the White House’s expressed desire to avoid direct confrontation with Russia a “rational” policy.
But Lavrov took the opportunity to warn hawks both in the US and Europe: “I will say it frankly: not everyone in the European Union, especially in its northern part [understands this]. There are politicians, who are ready to do this madness in order to satisfy their ambitions. But serious countries in the EU naturally are well aware that such scenarios are unacceptable,” the top diplomat said according to state media.
The blistering attack also seemed aimed a Germany, which just announced new anti-air radar and defense systems for Ukraine:
Germany will supply Ukraine with the IRIS-T modern air defence and radar systems, Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said, stepping up arms deliveries amid criticism that Berlin is not doing enough to help Kyiv in its fight against Russia.
“The government has decided that we will send the IRIS-T system – the most modern system that Germany currently possesses,” the German chancellor told parliament.
In separate statements on the same day, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Russia “does not believe Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s claims that Kiev will not attack Russian territory, should it obtain US-made long-range multiple launch rocket systems.”
Already there have been multiple cross-border incidents in which Russian towns or villages were shelled. According to TASS, Peskov said:
“No,” the spokesman said, answering a question whether the Kremlin trusts Zelensky’s words. “In order to trust, there must be previous experience when such promises were fulfilled. Unfortunately, such experience is completely nonexistent,” Peskov explained.
“On the contrary, the entire history of events proves that, starting with Zelensky’s main campaign promise to end the war in Ukraine’s southeast once and for all, [the promise] was not fulfilled, and the Minsk Agreements were not implemented, they sunk into oblivion, and by Ukraine’s fault at that,” the spokesman pointed out.
“So we don’t really have any trust credit for the Ukrainian side,” he emphasized in follow-up.
Russia is now warning of ‘worst case scenarios’ regarding the missile transfer…
KREMLIN SAYS RUSSIA TAKES ‘VERY NEGATIVE VIEW’ OF U.S. WEAPONS SUPPLIES, THEY DON’T HELP TO ENCOURAGE UKRAINE TO RENEW PEACE TALKS
KREMLIN DECLINES COMMENT ON HOW RUSSIA WILL RESPOND IF UKRAINE FIRES U.S. MISSILES INTO ITS TERRITORY, SAYS LET’S NOT TALK ABOUT WORST SCENARIOS
— The_Real_Fly (@The_Real_Fly) June 1, 2022
The night before, Biden stated in his NY Times op-ed that “We do not seek a war between NATO and Russia. As much as I disagree with Mr. Putin, and find his actions an outrage, the United States will not try to bring about his ouster in Moscow,” Biden wrote. “So long as the United States or our allies are not attacked, we will not be directly engaged in this conflict, either by sending American troops to fight in Ukraine or by attacking Russian forces,” he added.
However, it seems Russia is now implicitly warning that it will hold the US accountable for any ‘mishaps’ regarding the US rockets in the hands of Ukrainian forces.