MOSCOW-The Kremlin said Wednesday that any deliveries of long-range weapons to Ukraine by Western countries would not change Russia’s military objectives in Ukraine or change fighting on the battlefield. Kyiv has begun asking its military backers for modern fighter jets and missiles with greater range to strike targets deeper inside Russian-controlled territory. “This is a direct course to whipping up tension and to escalating the level (of fighting). It would require greater efforts from us. But again, it won’t change the course of events,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.
Peskov was responding to journalists citing unconfirmed reports that Washington is planning to give Ukraine missiles with a range of up to 150 kilometres (93 miles). Ukraine’s allies have so far declined to supply the weapons over concerns they they could be used to strike targets inside Russia, further escalating the conflict.
Peskov also told reporters Wednesday that the Kremlin was not considering any new plans for talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden.
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Biden said Tuesday that he will be discussing Ukraine’s latest requests for advanced weaponry with President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Ukraine’s calls for jets and long-range missiles come after Western countries decided last week to give Kyiv’s forces heavy tanks, after long deliberations.
Greece will not provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks
Greece will not provide German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, the country’s premier said on Wednesday, arguing that Athens has already given Kyiv significant military support including armored personnel carriers.
“We will not provide Leopard 2 tanks for the simple reason that they are absolutely necessary for our defense posture,” Kyriakos Mitsotakis told Japan’s Nikkei Asia news outlet.
“We’ve also always made it very clear that we are willing to support Ukraine but not at the expense of our defense capabilities,” he added.
The US announced on Jan. 25 that it will send Abrams tanks to Ukraine, while Germany said it will supply it with Leopard 2 tanks, and also allow allies to send their German-made armored vehicles to Kyiv.
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Ukraine had been pressing for the tanks for some time, along with other weapons such as long-range missiles, arguing that they are needed to fight off an expected Russian offensive this spring.
On the ongoing tensions between Athens and Ankara, Mitsotakis claimed they have something to do with Turkish elections, which are expected to be held on May 14. “I’m not worried about a possible conflict,” he added.
Türkiye, a NATO member for more than 70 years, has complained of repeated provocative actions and rhetoric by Greece in the region in recent months, including arming islands near Turkish shores that are demilitarized under treaty obligations. Ankara says the moves frustrate its good-faith efforts for peace.