The Kremlin has accused the United States of fighting a proxy war against Russia after Washington boosted military support for Ukraine and hosted President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on a historic visit. Zelenskyy enjoyed a hero’s welcome on his lightning trip to Washington on Wednesday, with his US counterpart Joe Biden committing to providing Kyiv with $1.8bn-worth of military equipment, including the highly sought-after Patriot missile defense system. But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday that the latest US support package – which comes on top of some $50bn already sent to Ukraine this year as Europe’s biggest land conflict since World War II drags on – would not help end the more than 300-day-long conflict.
“This is not conducive to a speedy settlement, quite the contrary. And this cannot prevent the Russian Federation from achieving its goals during the special military operation,” Peskov said, using Moscow’s term for its offensive. Peskov added that there had been no calls for peace or signs of willingness to “listen to Russia’s concerns” during Zelenskyy’s visit, proving that the US was intent on fighting a proxy war with Russia “to the last Ukrainian”. His comments came as Russian news outlets reported that Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had visited army units fighting in Ukraine. The report did not specify where the visit took place. Before addressing a joint session of Congress, the Ukrainian leader met with Biden at the White House, where the US president vowed to ship the Patriot system to Kyiv.
Ukraine has previously bolstered its air defenses in the face of continued Russian missile attacks on critical infrastructure and cities across the country that have left millions without electricity and running water during the freezing winter. He requested this equipment, claiming that it would help strengthen the Patriot one of the most advanced US air defense systems capable of intercepting threats such as aircraft and ballistic missiles.
Putin said at a meeting of defense ministers later this year that the Russian military would be equipped with the latest weapons to meet all of Moscow’s objectives. He added that there are no financial limits to the government’s provision of equipment and hardware, but said the military must learn from the problems it has experienced on the battlefield so far and correct them.
In October, Russian troops withdrew from Kherson, one of the regions that Moscow hoped to completely conquer along with Donetsk, Luhansk, and Zaporizhia, and dug in elsewhere but failed to gain positions. Russia’s war in Ukraine is Europe’s largest since World War II, leaving tens of thousands dead, millions homeless and much of the country reduced to rubble.