Ukraine, Moscow warns Washington: “With weapons in Kiev there is a risk of escalation”

While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the troops committed to repelling massive Russian attacks in Donetsk, on the “diplomatic” front there was yet another distant confrontation between Moscow and Washington. Russian Defense Minister Andrei Belousov, during a telephone conversation with the head of the Pentagon, Lloyd Austin, warned the US about the “danger of a further escalation of the situation in connection with the continued supply” of US weapons to the Ukrainian armed forces . The Kremlin then made it known that, at this time, no telephone call is planned between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North American President Joe Biden.

The duel between Russia and the United States also involved the issue of Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich, arrested on March 29, 2023 in Yekaterinburg on charges of espionage. During the first trial hearing (the next one is scheduled for August 13), the White House stated that Gershkovich “is not a spy” and is “used as a bargaining chip” by Russian authorities. The journalist was also defended by his newspaper, which described the trial as “a farce” and the accusations as “invented”. From Moscow came the invitation to the US to “seriously consider the signals received in Washington through appropriate channels” regarding the Gershkovich situation. Regarding the possibility of a prisoner exchange, Kremlin spokesman Dmytri Peskov also highlighted how these types of issues “love silence”.

On the battlefield, Moscow later reported that its army had destroyed three US-made Himars multiple rocket launchers and the “foreign specialists” operating them. Russia then accused Ukrainian forces of striking and completely destroying the radiation control post at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in Velikaya Znamenka. “Specialists from the nuclear power plant carried out a series of compensatory measures to control the radiation situation in the area where the plant is located,” said the Zaporizhia plant, which was occupied by Russia shortly after the start of the war in Ukraine. Pro-Russian authorities later reported that Kiev’s forces had shelled areas of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, leaving three dead and nine wounded.

Ukrainian President Zelensky went to the front in Donetsk to welcome the troops and introduce the new commander of the Joint Forces Command, Andrii Hnatov. Zelensky, expected in Brussels for the signing of the security agreement between the EU and Ukraine, also announced that he will intervene with a “hard fist” against officials he suspects are evading their duties in the war with Russia. The Ukrainian president then congratulated the Dutchman Mark Rutte on his appointment, made official by the Alliance, as the new secretary general of NATO, defining him as a “strong and principled leader”. Moscow has a different opinion. For the Kremlin, in fact, Rutte’s appointment “will not change anything” and NATO “will remain hostile” to Russia.

Source: IL Tempo