Russia is now ‘at war against NATO and the West’ and has taken the invasion of Ukraine to a ‘different stage’, a senior EU official has admitted, raising the terrifying specter of a global conflict.
The ‘game-changing’ deal among Western leaders to pump sophisticated tanks into the country to blast through the Kremlin’s invading forces has sparked fury in Moscow which has threatened to escalate the war beyond Ukraine’s borders.
Stefano Sannino, secretary general of the European Union’s European External Action Service, said Vladimir Putin will increase indiscriminate attacks on civilians and non-military targets and retaliate against the West. Speaking at a news conference in Tokyo as part of an Asia-Pacific tour, he said Putin had ‘moved from a concept of a special operation to a concept now of a war against NATO and the West’.
The official defended the US and German tank provisions, saying they are not intended as an attack but rather to help Ukrainians defend themselves. He said: ‘I think that this latest development in terms of armed supply is just an evolution of the situation and of the way Russia started moving the war into a different stage.’
He added that Russia is making ‘indiscriminate attacks on civilians and cities and no longer military targets. The EU is not looking to escalate hostilities but is ‘just giving the possibility of saving lives and allowing the Ukrainians to defend (themselves) from these barbaric attacks’, Mr. Sannino said.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin said today the US holds the key to ending the war in Ukraine but refuses to use it. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused Joe Biden of ‘pumping weapons into Ukraine’ when he could instead be instigating a ceasefire.
Germany and the US announced on Wednesday they will send advanced battle tanks to Ukraine, offering what one expert called an ‘armored punching force’ to help Kyiv break combat stalemates as the Russian invasion enters its 12th month.
The announcement marked the first stage of a coordinated effort by the West to provide dozens of the heavy weapons, which Ukrainian military commanders said would enable counter-offensives, reduce casualties and help restore dwindling ammunition supplies.
Joe Biden said his country will send 31 M1 Abrams tanks, reversing months of persistent arguments by Washington that they were too difficult for Ukrainian troops to operate and maintain. The US decision followed Germany’s agreement to send 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks from its own stocks. (SOURCE)