Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned Wednesday that Moscow views any US and NATO vehicles transporting weapons inside Ukrainian territory as legitimate military targets.
“We are warning that US-NATO vehicles with weapons that move across the Ukrainian territory will be viewed by us as legitimate military targets,” Ryabkov told Russia’s Tass news agency.
Russia had previously warned that it would target arms shipments inside Ukraine but hasn’t explicitly threatened US and NATO vehicles before. The Western powers are pouring weapons into Ukraine through bordering Eastern European countries, but it’s not clear if the shipments are entering Ukraine on US or NATO vehicles.
Ryabkov warned that Moscow would “curb” any Western attempts to hurt Russian troops and the forces of the breakaway Donbas republics of Luhansk and Donestk (LPR and DPR). “We are also making it clear to the Americans and other Westerners that attempts to slow our special operation and inflict the most possible damage to Russian units and the units of the DPR and LPR will be curbed in a tough manner,” he said.
On Monday, Russia claimed that it destroyed an S-300 missile air defense system inside Ukraine that was transferred to the country by an unspecified European nation. Slovakia recently gave Ukraine an S-300 but denied that it was targeted by a Russian strike.
President Biden on Wednesday authorized a new $800 million weapons package for Ukraine that includes helicopters, howitzers, and armored switchblade drones. The announcement came after the US and its NATO allies had pledged to start sending Ukraine more heavy equipment.