Russia Draws 'Red Line' On Possibility Of US Sending Anti-Air Missiles To Ukraine

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Feb 10, 2022 - 12:10 AM

Russia has for a couple months insisted that it has no plans to invade Ukraine, even as positioned extra forces in the south near the border, but the Kremlin is now issuing fresh warnings on its 'red lines' after reports emerged that Ukraine has requested THAAD missile defense systems from the US military. 

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov responded to the reports Wednesday, saying the missile request if true would mark a serious "provocation" and that it would be a significant setback for the Ukraine crisis, according to RIA news agency.

Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense missile battery (THAAD): US Army photo

However, Ryabkov admitted that at this point the US THAAD deployment remains "hypothetical" and appears to the be speculation among the media. Reports suggested they would be deployed around the large northeast Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, which Ryabkov dismissed as "blackmail and a provocation," according to TASS news agency.

"Everything that is happening in this field from the standpoint of supplying Ukraine with military equipment, ammunition and weapons, including lethal weapons, is an attempt to exert extra pressure, including military-technical pressure, on Russia. Obviously, there is a great deal of blackmail involved, too," Ryabkov said.

Referring to Ukraine's military and its Western backers in NATO, he said "this group of [Russia’s] opponents has virtually nothing left in its arsenal by and large."

"Instead of de-escalation, including an unconditional demand Kiev comply with the Minsk agreements to the full extent there have followed all sorts of media fakes. Some of these are obviously addressed to the incompetent public at large, which is eager to buy any such news, in particular, negative sensations. But we do not yield to provocations. What he have seen is a provocation of the first water," Ryabkov added.

The THAAD system is capable of intercepting both high-altitude and intermediate-range missiles. But so far the main weapons entering Ukraine from the West appear to be smaller anti-tank and anti-armor munitions, using for closer range combat. 

Meanwhile, President Putin reportedly complained to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron when the two met in Moscow for some five hours that NATO is continuing to "pump Ukraine with weapons."

"NATO member countries continue to pump up Ukraine with modern types of weapons, allocate significant financial resources for the modernization of the Ukrainian army. They send military specialists and instructors," Putin said at a press conference immediately following the summit with Macron, which was aimed a finding a path toward de-escalation.