Russia has warned western nations that shipments of weapons to Ukraine could be targeted by the country’s military.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Saturday that he considers arm shipments to be “legitimate targets,” potentially raising the prospect of attacks.

“Russia has warned the United States about the consequences of the transfer of weapons to Ukraine,” Ryabkov said, according to Russian newswire RIA Novosti.

“Convoys of foreign weapons, which are thoughtlessly supplied to Ukraine, will be legitimate targets for the Russian Armed Forces,” the minister added.

Newsweek has asked the Department of Defense for comment.

Ryabkov’s comments come after the U.S. Senate approved $13.6 billion in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine in a vote on Thursday as part of a $1.5 trillion government funding package.

NEW: Russia will consider foreign shipments of weapons to Ukraine as “legitimate targets” for the Russian armed forces to attack, state-run RIA Novosti reports, citing Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.

— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) March 12, 2022

Russia’s invasion entered its 17th day on Saturday, with fears the capital, Kyiv, is under threat.

The U.S. and its NATO allies have already shipped thousands of weapons to Ukraine with more shipments expected. Some 17,000 anti-tank missiles and 2,000 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles had been sent to the country, CNN reported on March 7 citing a senior official.

Germany, meanwhile, has sent 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger missiles after its government was initially reluctant to supply arms to Ukraine. And the Baltic countries have given Ukraine thousands of weapons, including Stingers and anti-tank Javelin missiles.

A senior U.S. defense official addressed the possibility of U.S. and NATO weapons falling into the wrong hands on Friday, telling Reuters: “Frankly, we believe that risk is worth taking right now because the Ukrainians are fighting so skillfully with the tools at their disposal and they’re using them so creatively.”

There is also the potential for those weapons to fall into Russian hands, with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu suggesting at a meeting of the country’s Security Council on Friday that seized weapons could be given to the breakaway regions of Ukraine, the so-called people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.

President Vladimir Putin signaled his support for Shoigu’s suggestion

“As to the delivery of arms, especially Western-made ones which have fallen into the hands of the Russian army – of course I support the possibility of giving these to the military units of the Luhansk and Donetsk people’s republics,” Putin said.

There were concerns on Saturday that Russian forces could be planning to launch a major attack on the capital city of Kyiv, with the U.K’s Ministry of Defence warning that the Russians may be planning to encircle the city and saying that other Ukrainian cities were already encircled.

“Elements of the large Russian column north of Kyiv have dispersed. This is likely to support a Russian attempt to encircle the city,” the ministry said on Twitter.

Kyiv was also reportedly preparing for an attack, with barricades erected and anti-tank obstacles deployed in strategic locations. Ukrainian forces have put up fierce resistance to the invasion so far.

A Ukrainian Soldier Holds an Anti-Tank Weapon
A Ukrainian soldier holds a Next Generation Light Anti-tank Weapon (NLAW) that was used to destroy a Russian armored personal carrier (APC) in Irpin, north of Kyiv, on March 12, 2022. Russia has aid that arm shipments to Ukraine will be considered “legitimate targets.”


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