President Vladimir Putin on the 80th commemoration of the Russian victory over Nazi Germany at Stalingrad puts the western alliance on notice
Russian President Vladimir Putin has hit out at the looming deliveries of Western-made tanks to Ukraine, warning that Moscow’s response to the threat will span far beyond armored vehicles. The Russian leader made the comments during a ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of victory at the Battle of Stalingrad.
On the 80th anniversary of the victory in the Battle of Stalingrad, Vladimir Putin laid a wreath at the Eternal Flame in the Hall of Military Glory on Mamayev Kurgan. Photo: Press Office of the Volgograd Region Governor
The Battle of Stalingrad (July 17, 1942 – February 2, 1943) went down in history as one of the longest WWII land battles, involving the highest number of troops. It marked a major turning point in the war and became a symbol of a moral victory over fascism.
On February 2, commemorative events marking the 80th anniversary of Soviet troops defeating the Nazis in the Battle of Stalingrad are held throughout the country. Every year, the Volgograd Region becomes the centre of a national celebration.
“Unbelievable, but true – we are once again threatened with German Leopard tanks, with crosses on their hull. And once again seeking to battle Russia in Ukraine with the help of Hitler’s followers, the Banderites,” Putin said.
“Those seeking to defeat Russia on the battlefield apparently do not realise that a modern war with Russia would be entirely different for them. We’re not sending our tanks to their borders. Yet we have something to respond with, and it would not be limited to armour use only, everyone must realise that,” he added.
Earlier in an interview with Russian media Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Ukrainian forces will be pushed further back from Russian territories in response to the West’s decision to provide Kiev with longer-range weapons.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks during an interview with Dmitry Kiselev, director general of the Rossiya Segodnya International Media Group, in Moscow, Russia. © Sputnik/Grigory Sysoev
Ukraine’s foreign sponsors are getting more bogged down in the conflict with every step, he told the media on Thursday, and Russia will react accordingly.
“Now our goal is to push the artillery of the Ukrainian Armed Forces back to a distance, where they would not create a threat to our territories. The longer range the weapons supplied to the Kiev regime have, the further the troops will need to be moved,” Lavrov stated.
The Pentagon’s next package of military assistance to Ukraine will reportedly include Ground Launched Small Diameter Bombs (GLSDBs), munitions for rocket artillery, and munitions that have a range of 150km (94 miles).
Kiev has long been lobbying donors to provide weapons with greater capabilities, such as MGM-140 ATACMS ballistic missiles, which can strike targets up to 300km (190 miles) away.
The approach described by the Russian foreign minister will apply to territories that Ukraine considers to be its own, including Crimea, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as Kherson and Zaporozhye regions.
Crimea and the city of Sevastopol joined Russia in 2014, while the four other provinces did the same last year. Kiev dismissed referendums in which people living in those territories voted for the move as a “sham.”
The US has reportedly provided its military aid to Ukraine on condition that it is not used to strike targets in Russia. However, American officials have said this restriction does not apply to Crimea and the other new Russian territories.
The West’s arming of Ukraine is “snowballing,” Lavrov said, having started with helmets and escalated to current proposals for the supply of fighter jets. He dismissed statements by some Western officials that Kiev won’t get Western-made warplanes, citing a lack of coherence in their policy. Kiev says it needs modern military aircraft for protection, but US President Joe Biden and the leaders of some EU countries, such as Germany, say it’s not on their agenda.
“[German Chancellor Olaf Scholz] stated that NATO would never go to war against Russia. But his foreign minister, [Annalena] Baerbock, said ‘We already are at war with Russia all together,” Lavrov remarked, referring to remarks made by his German counterpart last week.
Source Sputnik/RT/Reuters/Kremlin Press Office