As Pentagon sends Phoenix ghost drones to Ukraine, Russia criticizes NATO allies


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hit out at NATO as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine entered its 10th week and the US began sending ‘Phoenix Ghost’ drones to the Ukrainian government .

Lavrov accused the United States and NATO of encouraging Ukraine to pursue an “aggressive anti-Russian path” in an interview with China’s official Xinhua news agency.

A transcript of the interview was posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website on Saturday a day after a senior Pentagon official confirmed that the first shipment of Phoenix Ghost drones was due to arrive in Ukraine.

“Over the past few years, the United States and its allies have done nothing to stop the intra-Ukrainian conflict,” Lavrov said.

“Instead of pushing Kyiv towards a political settlement on the basis of the Minsk ‘package of measures’, they ‘inflated’ the Kyiv regime with weapons, trained and armed the Ukrainian army and nationalist battalions, and generally carried out the military-political campaign development of the territory of Ukraine,” he said.

“They encouraged the aggressive anti-Russian course pursued by the authorities in Kyiv,” Lavrov said.

Lavrov was referring to the 2015 Minsk agreement which aimed to end fighting in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine. The ceasefire agreement was never fully implemented, but French President Emmanuel Macron said in February it could provide a framework to end the current conflict.

Lavrov criticized Western nations’ support for the government in kyiv and said the United States, NATO and the EU should stop supplying arms to Ukraine if they want negotiations to succeed.

“This is militant rhetoric and inflammatory actions by Western Kyiv supporters,” Lavrov said. “In fact, they encourage [them] to “fight to the last Ukrainian”, to swell the country with arms and to send mercenaries there.”

Newsweek asked NATO for comments.

The Foreign Secretary’s comments come as the Pentagon confirmed on Friday that the first Phoenix Ghost drones were due to arrive in Ukraine.

A senior defense official told reporters that “we believe a first batch of these drones should arrive in the region today, but not all 121, but a first batch of them will arrive in the region today. ‘today’.

The official said he did not believe training on the use of drones had yet taken place in Ukraine. There are few details about the drones and it’s unclear where their name comes from, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

The drones are produced by Aevex Aerospace, a company based in Solana Beach in San Diego County, California.

The drones would hover in the sky and when they detect targets, they dive and strike the target, setting off an explosive warhead. No details were released on the size, shape, payload or capabilities of the drones.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby previously compared the Phoenix Ghost drone to the Switchblade drone, saying it was “essentially a one-way drone and an attack drone. And that’s basically what it’s designed for.”

The Biden administration is also providing 700 Switchblade drones to Ukraine.

Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov accused the US administration in a statement posted on Facebook of pumping Ukraine with weapons.

“The American authorities do not seem interested in a ceasefire. What matters to John Kirby and his colleagues is that the American military-industrial complex receives additional income by disposing of obsolete weapons from their warehouses” , did he declare.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a joint news conference following talks with his Armenian counterpart in Moscow April 8, 2022. Lavrov criticized the United States and its NATO allies.
ALEXANDRE ZEMLIANICHENKO/POOL/AFP/Getty Images


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