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Russia on Thursday issued another threat to the U.S., saying it would cross a “red line” if Washington supplied Ukraine with longer-range missiles.
Moscow “reserves the right to defend its territory,” Foreign Minister Maria Zakharova said during a briefing, according to Reuters.
The U.S. has already provided 16 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) to Ukraine, with more on the way. They have a range of roughly 50 miles.
Ukraine has called on the U.S. and other nations to assist it further as it pushes the frontline farther east and retakes territory in the northern Kharkiv region.
Kyiv has argued for months that it needs longer-range missile capabilities, like the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), which has a range of roughly 185 miles, to grapple with its roughly 1,500-mile-long battle front.
The longer-range missile systems could also prove beneficial to Ukrainian forces. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his troops will not stop resisting Russia until all of Ukraine has been liberated, including Crimea, which Russia has occupied since 2014.
“If Washington decides to supply longer-range missiles to Kyiv, then it will be crossing a red line and will become a direct party to the conflict,” Zakharova said.
The White House has repeatedly said that while it promises to keep providing Ukraine with military and humanitarian aid, it is not prepared to send certain missile systems like the ATACMS.
The Biden administration has cited concerns over sparking World War III, which Ukraine has scoffed at, saying it has no intention of firing on Russian territory.
The fight over Crimea will likely prove a difficult battle as Russia has viewed it as claimed land since its invasion nearly a decade ago.
Read More: Russia says US would cross ‘red line’ if it gives longer-range missiles to Ukraine