Russia vows to push back Ukrainian forces in response to long-range rockets

MOSCOW—Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday that the Russian military would respond to the handover of Western long-range weapons to Kyiv and try to keep Ukrainian forces away from the border and create a safe buffer zone.

Lavrov told state television that while everyone wants an end to the conflict in Ukraine (what the Russian government calls a “special military operation”), Western support for Kyiv is questionable as to how Russia is planning the military operation. “It plays an important role in how we approach it,” he said.

Two unnamed US officials told Reuters on Tuesday that Washington was preparing a new military aid package worth $2.2 billion.

“We see how the whole of NATO is waging war against us,” Lavrov said.

“We are now trying to push the artillery of the Ukrainian army back to a distance that does not pose a threat to our territory,” he added. , we will have to push them back from the territories that are part of our country.”

In this context, he said it was an “objective reality” that Russia expanded its territory last year by annexing four regions of Ukraine. denounced as illegal.

The Kremlin said Wednesday that long-range rockets would escalate the conflict but not change its course.

Ukraine has said it plans to retake all its territory, including Crimea, by force.

don’t need help

In a lengthy TV interview, Lavrov said Russia does not need support in Ukraine from the Collective Security Treaty Organization, an ally of the former Soviet states, nor is it asking them to provide material assistance.

He accused Western powers of trying to turn former Soviet states, including Moldova and Georgia, into enemies of Russia and undermine their ties with Central Asia.

Lavrov also accused the US of blowing up the Nord Stream gas pipeline linking Russia and Germany last year under the Baltic Sea. Swedish and Danish investigators have yet to determine who was responsible.