By dpa correspondents I Monday, January 23, 2023
MOSCOW – Russia’s parliamentary leader Vyacheslav Volodin warned of a possible “tragedy of global proportions” if German battle tanks are delivered to Ukraine.
“The delivery of offensive weapons to the Kiev regime will lead to a global catastrophe,” Volodin wrote on Telegram on Sunday. Russia would use even “more powerful weapons” if the US and NATO countries supplied weapons to Kiev that could be used to retake territories, he said.
The head of the State Duma made it clear that Russia considered attacks on the Ukrainian territories of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhya and Kherson, which were annexed and occupied by its own troops, as an attack on its territory.
Members of the German parliament and that of other states should be aware of their “responsibility before humanity,” said Volodin.
Such decisions would lead to a “terrible war” with very different combat operations than before.
“Taking into account the technological superiority of Russian weapons, politicians abroad who make such decisions should understand that this may end in a tragedy of global proportions, destroying their countries,” Volodin continued.
Nuclear power Russia had repeatedly declared in the war that it would “defend” the annexed regions with all means at its disposal. “The arguments that nuclear powers have not used weapons of mass destruction in local conflicts in the past are untenable,” Volodin said.
In the face of continued Russian threats, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky congratulated his country as it marks Unity Day, saying he is confident of victory.
Russia’s attack on February 24 led to a “new revival of our Ukrainian unity,” he said in an emotional video. Millions of people in Ukraine are standing together today to defend their country, he said, and also highlighted historical sites in different regions of Ukraine.
“Each region protects the other,” Zelensky said. “And all of us together are defending Kiev. And all of us together defend Kharkiv. And all of us together are liberating Kherson.”
The city of Kherson is under Ukrainian control, but most of the area of the same name is occupied by Russian troops. “And we will win. Together. And all of Ukraine will hear the sounds of victory,” said Zelensky.
He again said the whole of Ukraine would be liberated, including Crimea, annexed by Moscow in 2014.The country celebrates the Day of Ukrainian Unity on January 22, marking the proclamation of the 1919 Act of Unification between the Ukrainian People’s Republic and the West Ukrainian People’s Republic.
Meanwhile, although Moscow has said it plans to expand its armed forces, it is likely to struggle finding the material and staff it needs, in the view of British analysts who are monitoring the war.
Their comments refer to an announcement made recently by Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu that troop numbers are to increase from 1.15 million to 1.5 million, among other measures.
“Shoigu’s plans signal that the Russian leadership highly likely assesses that an enhanced conventional military threat will endure for many years beyond the current Ukraine war. However, Russia will highly likely struggle to staff and equip the planned expansion,” British military analysts said on Twitter.
The British Ministry of Defence has been publishing updates on the war since Russia’s full-scale invasion began. The aim is to counter the Russian narrative. Moscow accuses London of a disinformation campaign.
While Moscow struggles to build up its weaponry, Kiev continues to receive aid from its Western partners. Italy and France were the latest countries to pledge more weapon deliveries to Ukraine. They plan to send Ukraine the Samp/T air defence system, according to Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani.
“In cooperation with France, we are in the process of finalizing the delivery of Samp/T,” Tajani told the newspaper Corriere della Sera.
Samp/T is an air defence system jointly developed by France and Italy since the early 2000s. It is considered flexible and effective for defence against aircraft and missiles.
Tajani spoke of “other measures that we are working on secretly” and also reported that the five aid packages from Rome for Kiev that have been decided so far were worth around €1 billion ($1.087 billion).