A Russian senator said last week that it’s time for Russian forces to strike U.S. bases throughout Europe as punishment for sending advanced weapons systems to Ukraine to fight off Russian invaders.
In an interview with a Russian state television channel last week, Russian Senator Frants Klintsevich said Russia should be “taking into consideration” it’s high-precision long-range weapons and said “it’s time to wreck American bases” in Europe.
The television segment began as a host for the channel asked Klintsevich to react to news of the U.S. sending High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) long-range multiple-launch rocket systems to Ukraine. Klintsevish was specifically asked about Ukrainian claims that the U.S.-donated HIMARS weapons would only be used to defend its own territory, despite possessing enough range to strike targets in Russia.
“That’s just complete nonsense,” Klintsevich began. “It’s impossible to talk to the Americans in these conditions.”
Klintsevich — who is a veteran of Russia’s paratrooper forces and who has served as Deputy Chairman of the Defense and Security Committee for the upper house of the Russian legislature — said Russia’s refusal to directly retaliate against the U.S. for sending weapons to Ukraine has allowed the U.S. to continue sending weapons to be used against Russian forces.
“Unfortunately they view our tolerance and integrity as a weakness,” the Russian senator said. “And now the place where the arms shipments are arriving, in particular in Europe — taking into consideration Russia’s high-precision long-range weaponry, it’s about time we took steps to warn them.”
Russia possesses long-range missiles capable of covering the distance from Russian territory to countries in Europe beyond Ukraine.
Klintsevich then downplayed concerns that Russian attacks on American forces could set off a larger conflict.
“It happened in the Korean War, we shot down 1,270 American planes,” Klintsevich said. “The world didn’t end.”
The television host repeated the figure of 1,270 planes and Klintsevich again said “We shot them down. The world didn’t end.”
“It’s time to wreck American bases,” Klintsevich added. “For now the ones in [European countries]. Unfortunately, that’s just my personal opinion. We should do it if we are not heard. If it threatens our people on our territory.”
Klintsevich is not the first Russian politician to make threats against U.S. forces.
Russian officials have repeatedly threatened to attack weapons shipments bound for 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 in March 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.”
In April, Russia further warned that continued U.S. weapons shipments to Ukraine could result in “unpredictable consequences.”
At the end of April, Russian forces claimed they struck a weapons depot in the Ukrainian port city of Odesa that had stored weapons donated by the U.S. and other western nations.
In another comment reacting to the U.S. shipments of advanced weapons to Ukraine, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said “If, God forbid, these weapons are used against Russian territory then our armed forces will have no other choice but to strike decision-making centers.” Medvedev then noted that the “decision-making centers” he referred to are not in Ukraine, further implying he favors strikes on the countries sending weapons to Ukraine.
Medvedev then said, “The Horsemen of the Apocalypse are already on their way.”