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 interview Rossiya-1 state television channel.
Putin did not name the targets Russia planned to pursue if Western countries began supplying Ukraine with longer-range missiles.
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.
US 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.
Although Russian officials have warned that the US 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.
“This is nothing new,” he said. “It doesn’t change anything in essence.”
A barrage of Russian missiles struck Ukraine’s capital early Sunday, hitting unspecified “infrastructure” targets, Kyiv’s mayor said. No one was reported killed, with one person hospitalized with injuries.
But the attack shattered a sense of calm in Kyiv, which hadn’t seen similar strikes since the April 28 visit of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. And it showed that Russia still had the capability and willingness to target Ukraine’s capital since abandoning its wider offensive across the country to instead focus its efforts in the east.
Elsewhere, Russian forces continued their push to take ground in eastern Ukraine, with missile and airstrikes carried out on cities and villages of the Luhansk region, with the war now past the 100-day mark.
On Sunday morning, Ukraine’s General Staff accused Russian forces of using phosphorus munitions in the Kharkiv region and said that Moscow continues to carry out missile and airstrikes on military and civilian infrastructure, including in Kyiv.