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US tanks for Kyiv would be ‘blatant provocation’ against Russia, says envoy

Moscow, Jan 25 (EFE).- Washington’s possible approval of M1 Abrams battle tanks for Ukraine would be a blatant provocation against Russia, Moscow’s ambassador to the United States said Wednesday.

The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that Washington was poised to approve just over 30 tanks for Kyiv, according to US officials, and follows reports from Berlin that Germany also plans to send Leopard 2A6 battle tanks to Ukraine in conjunction with other European countries.

“If the United States decides to supply tanks, it will be impossible to justify such step using arguments about ‘defensive weapons.’ This would be another blatant provocation against the Russian Federation,” Anatoly Antonov said in a statement posted on the embassy’s website.

According to the diplomat, in the event that Washington agrees to send these tanks to Ukraine, “no one should have illusions about who is the real aggressor in the current conflict.”

“Obviously, Washington is deliberately trying to inflict strategic defeat on us. It gives ‘green light’ to use of American assistance for attacks on the Crimea,” the Russian ambassador added.

Antonov said he was convinced that the M1 Abrams “will be destroyed” if they reach Ukraine, “as all other samples of NATO military equipment.”

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy previously stated that “it is not about five, or ten, or fifteen tanks. The need is greater.”

Antonov met the previous day in Washington with the new US ambassador to Russia, Lynne Tracy, before his departure for Moscow, the US government reported, adding that the diplomats did not discuss any type of peace negotiation to end the war in Ukraine. EFE


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