U.S. Patriot system won’t thwart Russia’s plans for Ukraine, says Kremlin

U.S. Patriot system won’t thwart Russia’s plans for Ukraine, says Kremlin

22 Dec    Finance News, PMN Business, REU

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WASHINGTON/KYIV — U.S. supplies of advanced Patriot missile systems to Ukraine, announced during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s visit to Washington, will not help settle the conflict or prevent Russia from achieving its goals, Moscow said on Thursday.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that there had been no signs of readiness for peace talks during Zelenskiy’s visit, proving that the United States was fighting a proxy war with Russia “to the last Ukrainian.”

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“This is not conducive to a speedy settlement, quite the contrary,” Peskov said of the Patriot system. “And this cannot prevent the Russian Federation from achieving its goals during the special military operation,” using Russia’s term for a war in which tens of thousands of people have been killed.

Zelenskiy told Congress on Wednesday that U.S. aid to his country was an investment in democracy as he invoked battles against the Nazis in World War Two to press for more assistance in the war against Russia.

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Zelenskiy said the Patriot system was an important step in creating an air shield.

“This is the only way that we can deprive the terrorist state of its main instrument of terror – the possibility to hit our cities, our energy,” Zelenskiy told a White House news conference, standing next to President Joe Biden.

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Zelenskiy’s comments in Washington came as Republicans – some of whom have voiced increasing skepticism about sending so much aid to Ukraine – are set to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives from Democrats on Jan. 3.

Congress is on the verge of approving an additional $44.9 billion in emergency military and economic assistance, on top of some $50 billion already sent to Ukraine this year as Europe’s biggest land conflict since World War Two drags on.

The United States announced another $1.85 billion in military aid for Ukraine, including the Patriot system.

“We would like to get more Patriots … we are in war,” Zelenskiy told reporters.

The Ukrainian leader said on Thursday he had met Poland’s President Andrzej Duda on his way home from his first foreign trip since the Russian invasion began on Feb. 24.

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Poland – which shares a roughly 500-kilometer (310-mile) border with Ukraine – has registered more than 1.5 million refugees from its eastern neighbor since the war began, the most of any European Union nation.

Russia says it launched its “special military operation” in Ukraine to rid it of nationalists and protect Russian-speaking communities. Ukraine and the West describe Russia’s actions as an unprovoked war of aggression.

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White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Washington was seeing no sign that Russian President Vladimir Putin was willing to engage in peacemaking.

Zelenskiy’s aide, Mykhailo Podolyak, said the United States had “finally pinpointed the baseline” in the conflict.

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“1. Russia must lose. 2. No ‘territory in exchange for pseudo/world’ compromises. 3. Ukraine will receive all necessary military aid. As much as possible. 4. No one cares about Russia’s ‘talk to us’ hysteria…,” he wrote on Twitter.

Ukraine has come under repeated Russian strikes targeting its energy infrastructure in recent weeks, leaving millions without power or running water in the dead of winter.

Zelenskiy congratulated electrical workers for working round the clock, trying to keep the lights on as they marked Power Engineers’ Day on Thursday, a day after the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year.

“Even if the enemy can temporarily leave us without light, it will still never succeed in leaving us without the desire to make things right, to mend and restore to normal,” he said on Telegram. .”..Together we will overcome any darkness.”

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TASS news agency earlier quoted Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, as saying that Zelenskiy’s visit to the United States confirmed that Washington’s statements about not wanting a conflict with Russia were empty words.

Moscow proclaimed it had annexed four provinces of Ukraine – Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson – after holding so-called referendums in September that were rejected as bogus by Kyiv and the West.

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Russian forces control almost all of Luhansk, but only around 60% of Donetsk, both in the east. Since August, they have been bogged down in a costly and extended fight for Bakhmut, a Donetsk region industrial town with a pre-war population of around 70,000.

Russian Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov said on Thursday that the frontline in Ukraine was stable, and that Russia’s forces had concentrated on “completing the liberation of the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic.”

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu visited army units fighting in Ukraine, state-owned news agency RIA reported on Thursday, citing the ministry. It did not say where.

One person was killed and two were wounded on Thursday during Russian shelling of the town of Chasiv Yar, in the Bakhmut area, said Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office.

(Reporting by Reuters bureaus Writing by Himani Sarkar, Nick Macfie and Frances Kerry Editing by Robert Birsel and Tomasz Janowski)


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