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News ID: 103379
Publish Date : 06 June 2022 - 21:51
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With West Planning to Send Longer-Range Weapons,

LONDON (Dispatches) --
Moscow said on Monday that Western deliveries of longer-range arms to Kyiv would make Russia push Ukrainian forces further back from its borders, essentially increasing the potential territorial losses for Ukraine in the invasion.
The United States has ruled out sending its own or NATO forces to Ukraine but Washington and Britain have agreed to supply precision missile systems which have significantly longer ranges than previous weapons they delivered.
Washington is supplying Ukraine with M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, and Britain will supply M270 multiple-launch systems.
“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,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a news conference.
Since the start of its “special military operation”, Russia has repeatedly said it aims to clear Ukraine of “Nazis”. Kyiv and its Western backers say such claims are fiction and that Ukraine is fighting for its survival against an imperial-style land grab.
President Vladimir Putin warned the United States in an interview broadcast on Sunday that Russia would strike new targets if the West supplied longer-range missiles to Ukraine for use in high-precision mobile rocket systems.
The range of the missile systems depends on the munitions used in them. HIMARS systems have a maximum range of 300 km (185 miles) or more but the missiles supplied by the United States have a range of just over 40 miles (64 km) - double the range of the howitzers it supplied.
On Monday, Ukrainian troops suffered setbacks after retaking parts of flashpoint eastern city Severodonetsk from Russian forces, local officials said on Monday.
With Russia bringing the weight of its artillery to bear around

 
 Severodonetsk -- the largest city in the Lugansk region not under Russian control -- more help was promised from abroad.
Fighting since April has been concentrated in the east of the country, where Russian forces have made slow but steady advances.
“Fighting is very fierce in Severodonetsk,” regional governor Sergiy Gaiday told Ukraine’s 1+1 television. “Our defenders managed to counter-attack and liberate half of the city, but the situation has worsened for us.”
Russian forces “are destroying everything with their usual scorched earth tactics” so that “there’s nothing left to defend”, he said.
Gaiday said on Sunday that Kyiv’s troops had “cleared half of Severodonetsk and are moving forward”, after Ukrainian forces earlier appeared on the verge of being driven out of the city. 
 
Moscow Furious 
 
Moscow on Monday furiously condemned the rejection by several European countries of a request for Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s plane to pass through their airspace, forcing him to cancel a trip to ally Serbia.
“The unthinkable has happened,” Lavrov told an online news conference in Moscow. “This was a deprivation of a sovereign state of the right to carry out foreign policy.”
Bulgaria, Macedonia and Montenegro refused a request from Russia for Lavrov’s plane to pass through their airspaces on the way to Serbia because of sanctions imposed over Moscow’s military action in Ukraine.
Lavrov had been due to hold talks with top officials in Belgrade, one of Moscow’s few remaining allies in Europe since the launch of the offensive in late February.
Lavrov described the move as “outrageous”, insisting that Moscow’s relations with Belgrade would not be “destroyed”.
He said Moscow had invited his Serbian counterpart Nikola Selakovic to visit Russia in the near future instead.
The Kremlin also denounced the moves, with President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman calling them “hostile actions”.
Lavrov had previously been forced to cancel a trip to Geneva for disarmament talks in late February, after the European Union closed its airspace to Russian aviation.
A Russian diplomatic source told news agency Interfax there had been no choice but to cancel the visit to Serbia. “Russian diplomacy has not yet learned how to teleport,” the source said.
The chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the Russian parliament’s upper house, Konstantin Kosachev, suggested NATO was pressuring the three countries.
“We are talking about a NATO demarche, and without the United States it could not have happened,” Kosachev said on Telegram.
He accused NATO of “direct intervention” in bilateral ties between Russia and Serbia, and of “trying to seize and subjugate the rest of Europe”.
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