Kremlin warning: More US arms to Ukraine will aggravate war

Dec 20, 2022, 1:03 PM | Updated: Dec 21, 2022, 6:05 pm
Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, speaks as Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, left, a...

Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, speaks as Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, left, and Chief of the General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov attend a meeting with senior military officers in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022. (Sergey Fadeichev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

(Sergey Fadeichev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The Kremlin warned Wednesday that increasing the supply of U.S. arms to Ukraine would aggravate the devastating 10-month war ignited by Russia’s invasion, and Russia’s defense minister called for expanding Moscow’s military by at least 500,000 troops.

Speaking during a meeting with his top military brass, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow would use lessons learned in the conflict to “develop our armed forces and strengthen the capability of our troops.” He said special emphasis would go to developing nuclear forces, which he described as “the main guarantee of Russia’s sovereignty.”

Putin also said the Russian military’s new Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile would enter service shortly. The Sarmat is intended to replace aging Soviet-built ballistic missiles and form the core of Russia’s nuclear forces. Putin has hailed its capacity to dodge missile defenses.

The bullish rhetoric from Moscow came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with President Joe Biden in Washington, where U.S. officials announced a huge new military aid package for Kyiv. The $1.8 billion package includes for the first time a Patriot missile battery and precision guided bombs for fighter jets, U.S. officials said.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the beefed-up Russian military will include 695,000 volunteer contract soldiers, 521,000 of whom would be recruited by the end of 2023. The Russian military had about 400,000 contract soldiers as part of its 1 million-member military before the fighting in Ukraine began.

All Russian men ages 18 to 27 are obliged to serve in the military for one year, but many use college deferments and health exemptions to avoid the draft. Shoigu said the draft age range would be changed to 21- to 30-years-old, and the recruits would be offered a choice of serving for one year as draftees or signing a contract with the military as volunteers.

He also said Russia would form new units in the country’s west in view of ambitions by Finland and Sweden to join NATO.

The Kremlin’s plans marked a return to the Soviet-era military structure, which Russia abandoned during recent reforms that saw the creation of smaller units. Some Russian military experts have argued the more compact units intended for use in local conflicts were undermanned and underequipped for a massive conflict like the action in Ukraine.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the expansion of Western weapon supplies to Ukraine has led to “an aggravation of the conflict and, in fact, does not bode well for Ukraine.”

Peskov’s comments were the first official Russian reaction to news that Zelenskyy was in Washington for his first known foreign trip since Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion triggered the war that has killed thousands and laid waste to towns and cities across Ukraine.

The announcement of the new U.S. military aid came just hours before Zelenskyy paid a visit to the White House to thank U.S. leaders and “ordinary Americans” for their support in fighting off the invaders and to press for continued aid.

Biden said the U.S. and Ukraine would continue to project a “united defense” as Russia wages a “brutal assault on Ukraine’s right to exist as a nation.”

Later, in a historic address to Congress aimed at sustaining U.S. and allied aid for Ukraine’s defense, Zelenskyy thanked “every American” for their support of his country.

Zelenskyy called U.S. support vital to Ukraine’s efforts to beat back Russia, and thanked lawmakers and everyday citizens for tens of billions of dollars in military and economic assistance over the last year.

The Ukrainian leader predicted that next year would be a “turning point” in the conflict, “when Ukrainian courage and American resolve must guarantee the future of our common freedom — the freedom of people who stand for their values.”

Moscow also was involved in high-level diplomacy. The deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, met Wednesday with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Medvedev, a former Russian president, said in a video statement that he and Xi discussed an array of topics, including “the conflict in Ukraine.” Medvedev did not elaborate.

China has refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and criticized sanctions against Moscow. Beijing has only referred to the invasion as the “Ukraine situation” in deference to Moscow, and accused the U.S. and NATO of provoking Putin by expanding into eastern Europe.

In other developments Wednesday, Dmitry Rogozin, the former Russian deputy prime minister and one-time head of the state space agency Roscosmos, was wounded during Ukrainian shelling of a hotel in the Russian-controlled city of Donetsk.

Rogozin, who joined the Russian troops in Ukraine as a volunteer, told Russian state-controlled RT that a shell fragment missed his spine by just a centimeter (0.4 inches). Russian news agencies quoted Rogozin’s aide as saying that he was hospitalized, but his life wasn’t in danger.

Russian messaging app channels said Rogozin was celebrating his birthday at a restaurant when it was hit. Several other people, including the Moscow-appointed head of the regional government in Donetsk, were also wounded.

Russia annexed the Donetsk region along with three other regions of Ukraine in September.

Elsewhere, Russian forces pounded populated areas with more missiles and artillery. They shelled areas around the city of Nikopol in Ukraine’s southeastern Dnipropetrovsk region, its governor, Valentyn Reznichenko, said Wednesday on Telegram.

Nikopol is across the Dnieper River from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. Russian forces currently occupy the plant, Europe’s largest nuclear power station.

The Ukrainian president’s office reported Wednesday that Russian attacks on Tuesday killed five civilians and wounded 17. The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said Russia unleashed five missiles and 16 airstrikes on Ukrainian territory and 61 attacks from multiple-launch rocket systems.

General Staff spokesperson Oleksandr Shtupun said Ukrainian forces repelled attacks around more than 25 populated areas in eastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk provinces, with the cities of Bakhmut and Avdiivka continuing to be key targets of Russia’s grinding offensive.

The bodies of seven civilians, including a teenage girl, were found in a mass grave in the village of Pravdyne in southern Ukraine’s Kherson province, the Ukrainian defense minister said Wednesday. The village was held by Russian forces from March until early November.

“They simply kill,” Oleksii Reznikov wrote on Twitter. He said that as, of Dec. 21, the bodies of about 500 civilians who died during the Russian occupation have been found in the country’s northeastern Kharkiv province.

___

Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

This undated photo provided by the Grants Pass Police Department shows Benjamin Obadiah Foster. Fos...
Rio Yamat and Andrew Selsky, Associated Press

Oregon kidnap suspect previously released the day he arrived at prison

A man at the center of an intense police search in Oregon after a violent kidnapping last week was released from custody in October 2021 by Nevada prison officials on the same day he was transferred to the state's custody to serve a kidnapping sentence, authorities said Monday.
10 hours ago
FILE - Military personnel watch as Air Force One, with President Donald Trump, aboard prepares to d...
Associated Press

Boeing bids farewell to an icon, delivers last 747 jumbo jet

Boeing bids farewell to an icon on Tuesday: It's delivering its final 747 jumbo jet.
10 hours ago
seattle police...
Associated Press

Name of Seattle officer in crash that killed woman released

Police have released the name of a Seattle police officer who was responding to a medical call when his patrol SUV hit and killed a 23-year-old Jaahnavi Kandula last week in a city crosswalk.
10 hours ago
Slovak President Zuzana Caputova speaks during a press conference with her Austrian counterpart Ale...
Associated Press

Slovakia’s parliament sets early election for Sept 30

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — Slovakia’s parliament on Tuesday approved Sept. 30 as the date for an early election in the country. Ninety-two lawmakers in the 150-seat National Council — two more than needed — voted in favor of the move that came a week after lawmakers amended the country’s constitution to make it possible to […]
1 day ago
FILE - This booking photo provided by the Missouri Department of Corrections shows Leonard Taylor. ...
Associated Press

No new hearing on condemned Missouri man’s innocence claim

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The attorney for a Missouri man facing lethal injection next week said Tuesday that he will ask the state Supreme Court to postpone the execution by three or four months to allow more time to investigate his innocence claim. Leonard Taylor, 58, faces execution Feb. 7 for the deaths of his […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Endangered rhino poaching nearly doubled in Namibia in 2022

WINDHOEK, Namibia (AP) — Rhino poaching in Namibia increased dramatically last year, with nearly twice as many of the critically endangered animals killed than the year before, the country’s environment ministry says. The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism released figures on Monday showing that 87 rhinos were poached in 2022, up from 45 in […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Kremlin warning: More US arms to Ukraine will aggravate war