The United States is “waging a war” against Russia “no matter what they say,” Moscow’s foreign minister has said, as the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine nears its 19th month.
“No matter what they say, they (the United States) control this war,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in comments on state television on Sunday.
“They supply weapons, ammunition, intelligence data, data from satellites, they are waging a war against us,” Lavrov said.
The U.S. has provided around $43.7 billion of security aid to Ukraine since Russian troops crossed over into Ukraine to start Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.
The aid includes tranches of artillery ammunition and systems, missiles and armored vehicles, and it has been widely reported that the U.S. has also provided Ukraine with intelligence Kyiv has used to target Russian positions.
Russian state media and officials frequently frame the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine as a proxy war with the U.S., with Russian state television hosts and commentators calling for strikes on countries like the U.S. that have backed Kyiv in the ongoing conflict.
Newsweek has contacted the Pentagon via email for comment.
“We are not at war with Russia,” U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said during a media briefing in late May. “This is Ukraine’s fight. Our goal is to make sure that we’re doing everything that we can to make sure Ukraine is successful,” he added.
“It is not a war between the United States and Russia. It’s not a war between NATO and Russia,” Austin continued at the time.
The U.S. is the largest single donor of military aid to Ukraine, but, like other Western governments, it has been wary of Russia’s reaction to committing aid to Ukraine and the possible threat of retaliation. Washington has said it will not commit U.S. troops on the ground in Ukraine.
Russian state news agency Tass, reporting Lavrov’s comments, quoted him as saying that discussions in the U.S. over providing long-range capabilities to Kyiv “will not change the essence of what is going on in Ukraine.”
The U.S. has refused so far to furnish Ukraine with ATACMS, or the U.S. military’s Army Tactical Missile System, which would bolster Kyiv’s ability to launch long-range strikes.
Countries like the United Kingdom and France have already sent the Anglo-French Storm Shadow, or SCALP, missiles to Ukraine, which have been used to carry out attacks on Russian targets far behind the current front lines.
But “from a military standpoint, we have relatively few ATACMS, we do have to make sure that we maintain our own munitions inventories, as well,” the U.S.’ top soldier, General Mark Milley, told Defense One back in March.
Ukraine has long asked for the surface-to-surface missile system, which has a range just beyond that of Storm Shadow. Reports in recent weeks had suggested attitudes in Washington were changing and that Kyiv could soon receive ATACMS.
On Saturday, several Republican senators called on President Joe Biden’s administration to “immediately” donate ATACMS to Ukraine.
On Monday, State Department spokesman, Matthew Miller, said there was “no change” with regards to ATACMS, but that the long-range systems were “a question that we continue to take up.”
“These are ongoing conversations that we have with our Ukrainian counterparts, as well as conversations we have inside the United States government, but we don’t have any new position to announce at this point,” Miller said earlier this week.