Setting the stage for a potential major escalation with Western and NATO powers, the Kremlin warned on Saturday that the Russian military is prepared to target Western arms shipments that are continuing to pour into Ukraine. Russia's Deputy FM Sergei Ryabkov said on state TV that Washington had been informed in the last days that Moscow will see weapons supply convoys entering Ukraine as "legitimate targets".
"We warned the United States that the orchestrated pumping of weapons from a number of countries is not just a dangerous move, it is a move that turns these convoys into legitimate targets," Ryabkov said in the remarks, which served as a severe warning to the West.
He added that Russia has formally warned "about the consequences of the thoughtless transfer to Ukraine of weapons like man-portable air defense systems, anti-tank missile systems and so on." He added that from Moscow's point of view, the US administration has failed to take these warnings seriously.
Weeks prior the lead-up to Russia's Feb.24 invasion of Ukraine, the US Embassy in Kiev had tweeted photographs anytime a major arms shipment arrived. The US authorized Baltic allies in the transfer of Javelin anti-tanks missiles to supply Ukrainian forces; at the same time, the UK had sent many rounds of transport plane-loads of munitions and weapons systems.
It's also believed that supplies Stinger anti-aircraft missiles are being ramped up. The fresh Russian warning also comes following the US-Poland MiG-29 fiasco. Warsaw had prematurely offered to give all off its MiGs to the US so that they could be flown into Ukraine from Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany.
The Biden admin said the offer was a "surprise" while the Pentagon flat-out rejected the plan, saying that the risk would be too high of bringing NATO into direct conflict with Russian forces, given that the planes would have to enter Ukraine from the West, risking an aerial engagement incident.
#Ukraine: Another gift from NATO; UA forces training with newly delivered RPG-76 Komar single-use RPG, made in Poland in great quantities during the Cold War.— 🇺🇦 Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) March 12, 2022
Though these aren't very effective against modern Russian MBT, they would still work against structures & light armour. pic.twitter.com/yjycel94uJ
Recent battlefield videos have appeared to confirm that in many instances invading Russian tanks and armored vehicles are being destroyed and disabled by West-supplied Javelin and other anti-armor missiles that are in the hands of Ukraine's military.
Without doubt the Kremlin is blaming the West for these attacks, given they are taking place with NATO-supplied advanced weapons.
JAVELIN in first cut. Notice the Turret blown off - by design. Notice also the Russian rifles (INFANTRY) do not attack the firing point to suppress add fires but keep running the opposite direction. Not good. @cspanwj @gregkellyusa pic.twitter.com/EZbcbhLfi1— Bill Badey (@10903) March 11, 2022
In some instances entire Russian convoys appear to scramble when under ambush in narrow corridors, as is seen in the above video has gained much media attention in the past two days.
Washington has actually been supplying Ukraine's military with the "tank busting" Javelin for many years now, and this has also included training local forces on how to use them effectively. Ahead of the conflict, Moscow had long warned that his was a huge provocation, and announced a "red line" regarding NATO military infrastructure being extended into Ukraine. The Russians apparently took the increased Western arms shipments as signal for impending NATO military expansion there.
It's likely that any new and current West-supplied shipments into Ukraine are occurring through covert means, especially now that Russia has in effect declared 'open season' on any external weapons convoys.