News ID: 112208
Publish Date : 07 February 2023 - 21:22

Russia Warns of ‘Unpredictable’ Escalation in Ukraine War

MOSCOW (Dispatches) -- Russia’s defense minister said on Tuesday that Western arms shipments to Ukraine were effectively dragging NATO into the conflict, warning this could lead to an “unpredictable” level of escalation.
“The U.S. and its allies are trying to prolong the conflict as much as possible,” Sergei Shoigu was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.
“To do this, they have started supplying heavy offensive weapons, openly urging Ukraine to seize our territories. In fact, such steps are dragging NATO countries into the conflict and could lead to an unpredictable level of escalation,” he said.
Shoigu said Russian forces were “progressing with success” near the eastern Ukrainian towns of Bakhmut and Vugledar, cautioning against Western arms supplies to Kyiv.
His remarks came as Ukraine claimed the last 24 hours were the deadliest of the war so far for Russian troops.
The Ukrainian military increased its running tally of Russian military dead by 1,030 overnight to 133,190, and described the increase as the highest of the war so far. It also said its troops destroyed 25 Russian tanks in the last two days.
The report of enemy dead could not be independently confirmed, and Moscow denies its forces have suffered losses on such a scale while also claiming to have killed huge numbers of Ukrainians.
The war is soon entering its second year at a pivotal juncture, with Kyiv holding out for Western tanks for a counter-offensive.
Moscow is now making full use of hundreds of thousands of troops called up over the past few months in its first mobilization since World War Two.
Kyiv and the West say Russia has been pouring additional troops into eastern Ukraine in recent weeks in hopes of being able to claim new gains around the time of the first anniversary of the war later this month.
The last few weeks have seen Russia claim its first gains for half a year. Fighting has focused for months around the Ukrainian-held city of Bakhmut in eastern Donetsk province, a city with a pre-war population of around 75,000, which Russia has been trying to encircle.
Moscow has also launched an assault further south against Vuhledar, a Ukrainian-held bastion on high ground at the strategic intersection between the eastern and southern front lines.