Russia warns US against further arming Ukraine

Russia sent an official diplomatic note to the Biden administration warning the United States not to further arm Ukraine, two officials told CBS News.

The memo, sent to the State Department, revealed Moscow’s irritation at President Biden’s decision to continue approving arms transfers as the conflict shifts to eastern Ukraine. He used the same kind of language that Russia has been using for some time to oppose Western efforts to bolster Ukraine’s military against invading Russian forces.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has previously described the strategy as part of a plan to increase kyiv’s influence at the negotiating table, with the aim of eventually finding a negotiated end to the conflict. The Washington Post first reported Russia’s diplomatic note to the United States and quoted Russian officials as saying the arms shipments could have “unforeseeable consequences.”

The memo comes as President Biden this week endorsed an expansion of the type of military assistance the United States is providing to Ukraine, including $800 million worth of weapons including artillery like medium range howitzers which may prove useful in this next phase of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

“We will not confirm any private diplomatic correspondence,” the State Department said in a statement to CBS News. “What we can confirm is that together with our allies and partners, we are providing Ukraine with billions of dollars in security assistance, which our Ukrainian partners are using to extraordinary effect to defend their country against Russia’s unprovoked aggression and horrific acts of violence.”

The United States has provided a total of $2 billion in military aid to Ukraine since President Biden took office, according to the White House. The latest round of assistance this week includes 800 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and 2,000 Javelinsand 155mm howitzers, an upgrade to Ukraine’s long-range artillery that will help them take on Russia. Last month, Congress approved $13 billion in security assistance to Ukrainethat the White House could continue to tap into for new aid allocations.

“You know, we won’t be able to advertise every piece of security that we donate because our allies and partners are supplying Ukraine through us, but advanced weapons and ammunition are pouring in every day,” Biden said the week last during a speech at the Legislative Conference of North American Building Trades Unions.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told CNN in an interview on Friday that the world must be prepared for the possibility that Russian President Vladimir Putin could use tactical nuclear weapons against Ukraine. Russia has now been at war with Ukraine for 50 days.

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