MOSCOW: The Kremlin on Friday warned Western countries against providing more arms to Ukraine as key Kyiv backers President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz were set to meet in Washington.
“(Arms deliveries) place a significant burden on the economies of these countries and negatively affect the well-being of citizens of these countries, including Germany,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
“It is obvious that this will prolong the conflict and have sad consequences for the Ukrainian people,” he added.
Scholz will hold confidential talks on Friday in Washington with Biden about the war in Ukraine amid growing concerns that China may provide weapons to Russia.
Scholz set off on the one-day trip, which unusually will not include a press delegation, late on Thursday.
Biden and Scholz will meet for an hour at the White House, including a significant “one-on-one component,” a senior US official said, giving the two men a chance to “exchange notes” on their respective recent meetings with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the state of the war.
“Both of the leaders wanted this to be a working-level meeting, wanted it to be very much a get down into the weeds, focused on the issues of Ukraine,” the official said.
A major topic will be the push to deliver fresh Western support to Ukrainian forces, which are bracing for new Russian offensive in coming weeks, officials said. Washington is due to announce a new $400 million military aid package for the Kyiv government on the day of Scholz’s visit, officials said.
Meanwhile, Russia said on Friday it would take measures to prevent new border incursions, a day after accusing Ukraine-backed nationalists of killing two people in a cross-border raid in southern Russia.
President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday Russia had been hit by a “terrorist attack” in the southern Bryansk region bordering Ukraine, and vowed to crush what he said was a Ukrainian sabotage group that had fired at civilians.
A Ukrainian presidential adviser accused Russia of staging the incident as a false “provocation” to justify aggression against Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday that additional measures were being taken to protect the border.
“Of course, yesterday’s terrorist attack will be investigated and measures will be taken to prevent similar events in the future,” he said.
The FSB security service released video and photos of Thursday’s incident showing two shot-up cars with their drivers slumped dead inside.
Putin was due to hold a regular meeting of his Security Council later on Friday.