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Russia formally warns US to stop giving weapons to Ukraine or face ‘unpredictable consequences’

Airmen of the 436th Aerial Port Squadron load pallets of Javelin missiles to send to Ukraine at Dover Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mauricio Campino)
April 15, 2022

Russia sent a formal letter to the U.S. this week warning it to stop sending weapons to Ukraine or it would face “unpredictable consequences.”

The letter, which was reviewed by and first reported by The Washington Post on Thursday, accused the U.S. and NATO of “adding fuel” to the conflict in Ukraine by sending “most sensitive” weapons shipments there.

The letter came as President Joe Biden approved yet another wave of support to Ukraine in the form of $800 million in weapons and equipment. That package included armed drones, armored vehicles, anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons, Mi-17 helicopters, 155 mm howitzers, and ammunition.

A senior administration official told The Washington Post that the formal letter means that “What the Russians are telling us privately is precisely what we’ve been telling the world publicly — that the massive amount of assistance that we’ve been providing our Ukrainian partners is proving extraordinarily effective.”

Russia has previously threatened to attack weapons shipments to Ukraine, calling them “legitimate targets” for Russia to attack.

“We clearly said that any cargo moving into the Ukrainian territory which we would believe is carrying weapons would be fair game,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last month in an interview with Russia Today. “This is clear because we are implementing the operation the goal of which is to remove any threat to the Russian Federation coming from the Ukrainian soil.”

Days earlier, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, “We have warned the U.S. that the U.S.-orchestrated inundation of Ukraine with weapons from some countries is not just a dangerous move, but also an action that makes these convoys legitimate targets.”

Of the latest U.S. weapons shipment to Ukraine, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Wednesday, “It’s the first time that we’ve provided these [155mm] howitzers and the associated rounds, and that’s reflective of the kind of fighting that the Ukrainians are expecting to be faced with here in this more confined geographic area.”

Since Russia declared war in Ukraine on Feb. 24, the U.S. has provided more than $2.6 billion in support to Ukraine, and approximately $600 million in the year before the invasion.

The Department of Defense released a fact sheet on Thursday itemizing what it has provided to Ukraine. That list is as follows:

  • Over 1,400 Stinger anti-aircraft systems;
  • Over 5,500 Javelin anti-armor systems;
  • Over 14,000 other anti-armor systems;
  • Over 700 Switchblade Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems;
  • 18 155mm Howitzers and 40,000 155mm artillery rounds;
  • 16 Mi-17 helicopters;
  • Hundreds of Armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles;
  • 200 M113 Armored Personnel Carriers;
  • Over 7,000 small arms;
  • Over 50,000,000 rounds of ammunition;
  • 75,000 sets of body armor and helmets;
  • Laser-guided rocket systems;
  • Puma Unmanned Aerial Systems;
  • Unmanned Coastal Defense Vessels;
  • 14 counter-artillery radars;
  • Four counter-mortar radars;
  • Two air surveillance radars;
  • M18A1 Claymore anti-personnel munitions;
  • C-4 explosives and demolition equipment for obstacle clearing;
  • Tactical secure communications systems;
  • Night vision devices, thermal imagery systems, optics, and laser rangefinders;
  • Commercial satellite imagery services;
  • Explosive ordnance disposal protective gear;
  • Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear protective equipment;
  • Medical supplies to include first aid kits.