On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow will push Ukrainian forces further back from the Russian border in response to Western nations giving Kyiv longer-range weapons.
“The longer the range of the systems that will be delivered, the further we will move back the Nazis from that line from which threats to Russian speakers and the Russian Federation may come,” Lavrov said.
Lavrov’s comments came after the US and Britain announced they are giving Ukraine rocket systems that have a longer range than any other weapon the West has provided Kyiv. The US is sending High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, known as HIMARS, and the UK is sending M270 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS).
Both the HIMARS and the MLRS could hit targets close to 200 miles away if outfitted with long-range munitions, but Washington and London insist they are only sending rockets capable of reaching about 50 miles.
A 50 miles range is still longer than any weapons the US has sent Kyiv and marks a significant escalation in military aid. Both the US and Britain said they received assurances from Ukraine that the weapons won’t be used to hit Russian territory.
On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the delivery of such weapons would result in Russia hitting more targets in Ukraine. On the same day, Russia launched strikes in Kyiv for the first time in over a month.