Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that the United States was wading deeper into the Ukraine conflict and making a mistake by providing Kyiv with long-range ATACMS missiles.
He told a news conference during a visit to China that he had briefed President Xi Jinping “in some detail” about Ukraine. He said “external factors” and “common threats” served only to strengthen Russia-Chinese cooperation.
The Kremlin chief said Washington’s decision to supply the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), whose use Kyiv confirmed on Tuesday, “just prolongs the agony” for Ukraine.
“Firstly, this of course causes harm and creates an additional threat. Secondly, we will of course be able to repel these attacks. War is war,” Putin said.
“But most importantly, it fundamentally lacks the capacity to change the situation on the line of contact at all … This is another mistake by the United States.”
Ukraine had repeatedly asked Washington for ATACMS to help it attack and disrupt supply lines, air bases and rail networks in Russian-occupied territory.
“A mistake of a larger scale, as yet invisible but still of great importance, is that the United States is becoming more and more personally drawn into this conflict. And let no one say that they have nothing to do with this. We believe they do,” Putin said.
He noted that the United States had sent two aircraft carrier groups to the Mediterranean in response to the explosion of violence between Israel and the Palestinians, and said he had ordered Russian planes with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles to patrol over the Black Sea.
Putin said it was good that the West was starting to talk about the need to solve the Ukraine crisis by peaceful means, though he did not cite examples.
Russia has long said it is willing to negotiate, but only if Kyiv accepts “new realities”, meaning Moscow’s occupation of more than a sixth of Ukraine.
Kyiv insists on a full withdrawal of Russian forces, including from the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014.