Kremlin warns more US arms shipments to Ukraine would mark ‘aggravation of the conflict’

The Kremlin on Wednesday warned that additional U.S. arms shipments to Kyiv would mark an “aggravation of the conflict.”

“Weapon supplies [by the U.S.] continue, the assortment of supplied weapons is expanding. All this, of course, leads to an aggravation of the conflict and, in fact, does not bode well for Ukraine,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, according to The Associated Press.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is slated to visit Washington on Wednesday, when President Biden will meet with him and announce an additional roughly $2 billion in assistance for the country.

The package will include Patriot Missile Batteries, which can generally operate with a maximum range of 100 miles and help target ballistic and cruise missiles.

Ukraine for weeks has asked for more advanced air defense systems as the country faces a barrage of strikes from Russia that in particular has targeted Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. 

The strikes at times have knocked out power and water for much of the country, which comes as colder temperatures set in with the arrival of winter.

Congress on Tuesday also proposed a $45 billion emergency aid package for Ukraine, an amount that exceeds the White House’s original proposal of $38 billion. 

The additional aid to Ukraine in the year-end spending package has garnered bipartisan support in Congress, although some Republicans have voiced opposition to the assistance and criticized Biden’s approach to Ukraine.

Zelensky’s arrival in the U.S. will come hours after he made a surprise visit to Bakhmut, a city in eastern Ukraine that Zelensky called “the hottest spot” on the front lines.

The Associated Press reported that Peskov on Wednesday also confirmed reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not deliver his annual state-of-the-nation address.

Peskov said the decision was related to Putin’s “work schedule,” but the decision comes amid a loss of momentum for Russia in its invasion of Ukraine.

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