President Vladimir Putin warned the West that Russia would strike new targets if the United States started supplying Ukraine with longer-range missiles, the TASS news agency reported on Sunday.
If such missiles are supplied, “we will strike at those targets which we have not yet been hitting,” Putin was quoted as saying in an excerpt of an interview with Rossiya-1 state television channel.
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Putin did not name the targets Russia planned to pursue if Western countries began supplying Ukraine with longer-range missiles. He said the “fuss” around Western weapon supplies to Ukraine was designed to drag out the conflict.
Ukraine has been seeking Multiple Rocket Launch Systems (MLRS) such as the M270 and M142 HIMARS to strike troops and weapons stockpiles at the Russian forces’ rear.
U.S. President Joe Biden announced plans this week to give Ukraine precision HIMARS rocket systems after receiving assurances from Kyiv that it would not use them to hit targets inside Russia.
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Although Russian officials have warned that the U.S. decision to supply Ukraine with advanced rocket systems could exacerbate the conflict, Putin said it would not bring on any fundamental changes on the battlefield.
“We understand that this supply (of advance rocket systems) from the United States and some other countries is meant to make up for the losses of this military equipment,” Putin said.
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“This is nothing new. It doesn’t change anything in essence.”
In an excerpt of the same interview aired on Saturday, Putin boasted that Russian anti-aircraft forces have shot down dozens of Ukrainian weapons and are “cracking them like nuts.”