Russia has accused the United States of direct involvement in the Ukraine war, as the first ship carrying Ukrainian grain to world markets since Moscow’s invasion continued its passage to Lebanon without problems.
Moscow said on Tuesday it was responding to comments by Vadym Skibitsky, Ukraine’s deputy head of military intelligence, about the way Kyiv used US-supplied long-range HIMARS rocket launch systems based on what he called excellent satellite imagery and real-time information.
Skibitsky told the United Kingdom’s Telegraph newspaper there was consultation between US and Ukrainian intelligence officials before attacks and that Washington had an effective veto on intended targets, though he said US officials were not providing direct targeting information.
Russia’s defence ministry, headed by a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, said the interview showed that Washington was directly involved despite repeated assertions that it was limiting its role in the conflict to arms supplies because it did not want a direct confrontation with Moscow.
“All this undeniably proves that Washington, contrary to White House and Pentagon claims, is directly involved in the conflict in Ukraine,” the Russian defence ministry said in a statement.
“It is the Biden administration that is directly responsible for all Kyiv-approved rocket attacks on residential areas and civilian infrastructure in populated areas of Donbas and other regions, which have resulted in mass deaths of civilians,” the defence ministry said.
There was no immediate reaction to the defence ministry’s allegations from the White House or Pentagon.
Ukraine and the West have accused Russia of carrying out devastating missile attacks on civilian targets on an almost daily basis. Moscow and Kyiv have denied deliberately targeting civilians.
Supplies of sophisticated long-range weapons systems from Western nations to Ukraine are seen as vital if Kyiv’s forces are to turn the tide of the war, in which Russia relies heavily on long-distance bombardments of urban areas.