Russia says ‘quite old’ U.S. Patriot missiles in Ukraine won’t stand in its way

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Washington during which the Biden administration announced another $1.85 billion in military aid for Ukraine.

Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

Russia said that Ukraine acquiring Patriot missiles from the United States, announced during President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit to Washington, would not help settle the conflict or prevent Moscow from achieving its goals.

Though the Patriot air defence system is widely regarded as advanced, President Vladimir Putin dismissed it as “quite old”, telling reporters Moscow would find a way to counter it. At the same time, he said Russia wants an end to the war in Ukraine and that this would inevitably involve a diplomatic solution.

“Our goal is not to spin the flywheel of military conflict, but, on the contrary, to end this war,” Putin said

“We will strive for an end to this, and the sooner the better, of course.”

These comments drew quick U.S. scepticism. White House spokesman John Kirby said Putin had “shown absolutely zero indication that he’s willing to negotiate” an end to the war.

“Everything he (Putin) is doing on the ground and in the air bespeaks a man who wants to continue to visit violence upon the Ukrainian people (and) escalate the war,” Kirby told reporters.

Russia has repeatedly said it is open to negotiations, but Ukraine and its allies suspect a ploy to buy time after a series of Russian battlefield defeats and retreats that have swung the momentum of the 10-month war in favour of Ukraine.

Zelenskyy returns from his first wartime foreign trip buoyed by the support shown by President Joe Biden on Wednesday.

“We are coming back from Washington with good results. With something that will really help,” Zelenskyy said on Telegram.

The Biden administration announced another $1.85 billion in military aid for Ukraine, including a Patriot system, as Zelenskyy began his visit.

But the visit leaves many questions unanswered, including how U.S. military aid could evolve, whether U.S. Congressional support will endure, and how the war will end.

U.S. officials say a single Patriot battery will not change the course of the war.

Putin has previously said that sanctions against Russia will not make it change its position on Ukraine and Western arms supplies will only drag out the conflict.

Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak told state television on Friday that Russia may cut oil output by 5%-7% in early 2023 as it responds to price caps on its crude and oil products by halting sales to the countries that support them.   

‘Not conducive’

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Fight for Bakhmut

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