Russian President Vladimir Putin has again threatened Western leaders that Moscow would order strikes on new targets if the United States supplies Ukraine with long-range missiles, according to a state spokesman.
TASS news agency quoted Putin’s comments in a Sunday, June 5 interview on Rossiya-1, where the Russian leader mentioned delivering US rocket systems to Ukraine.
Putin said if the long-range rockets were delivered, Russia would strike new locations, although he refrained from mentioning where those targets might be.
He added: “If it is now rockets and they are delivered, we will draw conclusions and use our weapons which we have in sufficient quantities to hit the installations which we do not attack so far. .”
It comes after President Joe Biden announced earlier this week that the United States would provide Ukraine with “more advanced rocket systems and munitions.”
The US Department of Defense on Wednesday announced new security assistance for Ukraine worth an estimated $700 million.
During the interview, Putin claimed that the “hustle” of arms deliveries to Kyiv was aimed at prolonging the conflict as long as possible.
He added that the new armaments were being sent to Ukraine to replenish its depleted stock.
In the interview, Putin said: “We believe that the delivery of rocket systems by the United States and some other countries is related to compensation for the losses of this combat material. There is nothing new to this topic and it doesn’t actually change anything”
Putin also claimed that Russian air defenses shot down many Ukrainian drones as the conflict exceeded 100 days.
He said in the same interview: “We have such systems. Buk, Tor and Pantsyr [air defense] the systems are very efficient.
“Our defense systems work in such a way and hope that no one will be offended, but they break them [drones] like nuts. Dozens and dozens of these drones have been taken out.”
Newsweek contacted the office of the President of Ukraine and the Kremlin for comments.
While Russia faced many strategic setbacks during the opening phase of the war, including failing to capture Kyiv, its forces concentrated their efforts in eastern Ukraine.
The region is populated by many Russian-speaking people who have been engaged in armed conflict with Ukrainian forces since they declared the breakaway Luhansk and Donetsk regions independent from Kyiv’s control in 2014.
But pundits from the Kremlin’s state-run TV channels admitted that some Russian-speaking Ukrainians fought back against Moscow’s forces.
This blew a hole in the Kremlin’s narrative that Russian forces invaded Ukraine to liberate the peoples of the region and also to denazify the country.