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Russia says it destroyed Western arms haul in Ukraine with Kalibr missiles

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A view shows a tank which was destroyed in conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, May 20, 2022. (Photo by Reuters)

Russia on Saturday said it has destroyed a major haul of Western weapons in Ukraine’s restive Zhytomyr region, west of Kiev, using sea-launched Kalibr cruise missiles, amid growing tensions with the US and European Union states.

In a statement, Russia's defense ministry said it destroyed "a large batch of weapons and military equipment delivered from the USA and European countries" using Kalibr cruise missiles.

The weapons were intended for Ukrainian troops in the country’s eastern region of Donbas where the warring sides are fighting for control.

The ministry further noted that missiles struck fuel storage facilities near the Black Sea port city of Odesa and shot down two Ukrainian Su-25 aircraft and 14 drones. They also struck numerous Ukrainian command posts, it added.

Russia launched the military operation in Ukraine on February 24, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements and Moscow’s recognition of the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

At the time, Russian President Vladimir Putin said one of the goals of what he called a “special military operation” was to “de-Nazify” Ukraine.

Western countries have responded to the Russian military operation by backing Ukraine with cash and heavy weaponry while imposing unprecedented sanctions on Russian officials and entities.

Moscow has repeatedly warned that such a flow of weapons to Kiev will only prolong the war, which is now into its third month.

The Kremlin says Western arms deliveries for Kiev, and the imposition of harsh economic sanctions, amount to a "proxy war" by the US and its allies. 

The latest development comes as US President Joe Biden signed a bill that provides nearly $40 billion of additional humanitarian and military aid for Ukraine.

The Biden administration is also working to deliver anti-ship missiles to Ukrainian fighters to help break Russia's naval blockade.

Ukraine has asked for more advanced US weapons beyond its current inventory of artillery, Javelin and Stinger missiles, and other arms.

Western countries have in recent months supplied Ukraine with weapons, including artillery, anti-aircraft missiles, anti-tank weapons, and other powerful materiel, but Kiev has been pushing allies for more support.

The four main categories of weapons that the West has sent Ukraine are basic guns and ammunition, missiles, attack drones, and artillery.

Last Friday, Josep Borrell, the European Union's foreign policy chief, announced that the bloc would provide a further 500 million euros worth of military support to Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom, the United States, France, and Germany are discussing whether to sign a security guarantee for Ukraine to continue providing weaponry and support in the long run.

The conflict in Ukraine has killed thousands of people and displaced more than 13 million, creating the worst refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

Russia says it will halt the operation instantly if Kiev meets Moscow's demands, including abandoning the ambitious bid for NATO military alliance.


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