The Russian government is saying that if the United States starts supplying Ukraine with longer-range missiles for its war effort, it would represent a “red line” for Moscow.
These are destroyed and abandoned tanks seen by Reuters in the town of Izium, the important logistics center recently recaptured by Ukrainian troops. The “Z” symbol is used by Russian forces to identify themselves.
Russian forces in eastern Ukraine are digging in and beefing up their defenses, according to a Ukrainian regional official, who said it will be difficult for Ukrainian troops to repeat their recent rapid advances.
A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Thursday (Sept. 15) that if the U.S. crossed that red line and delivered longer-range missiles, Washington would become a “direct party to the conflict” and Russia would “reserve the right to defend its territory.
The U.S. currently supplies Ukraine with missiles capable of hitting targets up to 50 miles away, and has not publicly commented on whether it will send missiles with twice that range or more.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was back in Kyiv to meet European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, has made a surprise visit to Izium a day earlier.
According to him, Russian troops have left the following traces:
“Our law enforcement agencies have already received evidence of murder, torture and kidnapping of people by the occupiers…. And what we see now in the Kharkiv region is evidence of genocide against Ukrainians.”
Earlier this week, Ukraine reported that at least a thousand residents of Izium had been killed in six months of fighting. Russia has long denied targeting civilians.