A woman crosses a bridge in front of the Kremlin in central Moscow on Oct 4, 2022. (YURI KADOBNOV / AFP)
KYIV/MOSCOW/TEHRAN – The supply of Western weapons to Ukraine does not help resolve the conflict but prolongs the suffering of the Ukrainian people, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.
If the United States delivers the Patriot surface-to-air missile systems to Ukraine, they will become legitimate targets of the Russian Armed Forces, Peskov told a daily briefing.
Russia regards the supply of the Patriot missile systems to Ukraine as "another significant step towards America's direct involvement in the conflict," said Konstantin Kosachev, deputy speaker of Russia's upper parliament house, the Federation Council, on Thursday
On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden pledged visiting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to offer military aid, mentioning in particular the Patriot missile battery he just approved for Ukraine in a new tranche of security assistance totaling $1.85 billion.
Russia regards the supply of the Patriot missile systems to Ukraine as "another significant step towards America's direct involvement in the conflict," said Konstantin Kosachev, deputy speaker of Russia's upper parliament house, the Federation Council, on Thursday.
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Meanwhile, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu inspected Russian forces in the zone of the special military operation, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Telegram.
Shoigu checked the conditions for the deployment of personnel and military equipment at temporary deployment points and heard reports from unit commanders.
Talks on Zaporizhzhia plant
Separately, Russian officials and a delegation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) held a new round of consultations on cooperation in ensuring the safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (NPP).
Alexei Likhachev, director-general of Russia's State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom, and IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi participated in the talks among other representatives, Rosatom said in a statement.
Photo taken on Aug 22, 2022 shows the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. (PHOTO / XINHUA)
Both sides discussed approaches to the creation of a safety zone at the Zaporizhzhia NPP and noted the closeness of their positions on the creation of such a zone, said Rosatom, which operates the power station.
They agreed to continue negotiations in order to reach mutually acceptable terms as soon as possible.
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The parties underlined the task of ensuring a reliable supply of electricity and heat to the NPP and its host city of Energodar, the statement showed, adding that both sides regarded the conversation as substantive, useful and frank.
Russia's State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom and the IAEA underlined the task of ensuring a reliable supply of electricity and heat to the NPP and its host city of Energodar, the statement showed
The Zaporizhzhia NPP, which is one of Europe's largest nuclear power plants, has been controlled by Russian forces since early March. Ukraine and Russia have traded accusations of strikes on the facility.
Iran not involoed
In a statement published by the Iranian Foreign Ministry on Thursday, Iran reiterated that it has sent no military hardware to any side in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
The remarks by Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanaani came in response to Zelensky's "repeated accusations" against Iran in his speech to the US Congress on Wednesday, according to the ministry statement.
"Iran has always respected the territorial integrity of all countries, including Ukraine," said Kanaani, warning Zelensky that "there is a limit to Iran's patience with such baseless accusations."
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Ukraine and Western countries accuse Iran of sending suicide drones to Russia for use in the conflict in Ukraine. Iran has repeatedly rejected the allegations as "baseless."