Tank deliveries mean Western countries are 'participants' in Ukraine war, Russia claims

Tank deliveries mean Western countries are 'participants' in Ukraine war, Russia claims
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Senior Kremlin officials have suggested that Germany and the US's recent decision to supply Kyiv with advanced Western tanks makes them "participants" in the conflict in Ukraine, as Russia's threats of a direct military confrontation with NATO continue to be used as propaganda to deter Western allies from providing assistance.

"Statements are constantly being made from European capitals, from Washington, that sending various weapons systems to Ukraine, including tanks, in no way means that these countries, the [NATO] alliance, are involved in hostilities in Ukraine," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday. "We categorically disagree with this, and in Moscow, everything the alliance does is perceived as direct involvement in the conflict. And we see that it is growing."

Peskov's words were echoed on the same day by Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, shifting the blame onto the West by accusing them of "prolonging this military conflict" and becoming "its participants."

No path to peace

Moscow's escalating rhetoric comes despite US President Joe Biden's attempts to downplay the perceived threat the modern tanks — which include the German-made Leopard 2 the US-made M1A1 Abrams models — pose to Russia's security.

"There is no offensive threat to Russia," Biden said on Wednesday. "If Russian troops return to Russia, where they belong, this war would be over today."

In a speech delivered late on Wednesday evening, Zelenskyy said that he was "grateful to all our allies for their willingness to provide us with modern and much-needed tanks." However, he also requested that even more sophisticated weaponry — including long-range missiles and Western aircraft — be delivered to Ukraine to help it repel the Russian invasion.

"We have to unlock the supply of long-range missiles to Ukraine, it is important for us to expand our cooperation in artillery, we must supply aircraft to Ukraine," Zelenskyy said. "[This is] an important task for us all."

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In an interview with Sky News on Thursday, Zelenskyy added that the prospect of potential peace talks between Kyiv and Moscow were nowhere on the horizon.

"You know, so far there are no peace talks with Russia," Zelenskyy said. "Because we don't know who we should negotiate with, and about what. What kind of peace talks? At present, these are just criminals who came here and were killing and raping. That's what they have been doing."

Kremlin spokesperson Peskov likewise suggested on Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin was similarly uninterested in negotiating with his Ukrainian counterpart: "Let's put it this way, [Zelenskyy] himself has long ceased to be a potential interlocutor for President Putin."

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