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Moscow once again threatened to attack Kyiv if Ukraine targeted troop supply lines in Russia, saying it will “retaliate with long-range smart weapons.”
The threat came Tuesday evening after U.K. Defense Minister James Heappey said hitting Russian logistics was a “legitimate” part of war as Russian forces continue a second assault in eastern and southern Ukraine.
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“It is entirely legitimate to go after targets in the depth of your opponents to disrupt their logistics and supply lines,” he said in a BBC Radio interview.
But the Kremlin, which has accused NATO of fighting a proxy war against Russia, said it would strike Ukraine’s capital if its forces were touched on its soil.
“We would like to stress that London’s direct instigation of the regime in Kyiv to commit such actions, should these attempts materialize, will instantly entail our proportionate response,” the Russia defense ministry said in a statement, according to Russian state-owned media. “As we have warned, the Russian armed forces are ready round the clock to carry out retaliatory strikes with long-range smart weapons against decision-making centers in Kyiv.”
The defense ministry further warned that it would have no qualms hitting Western officials who happen to be in Kyiv providing it with assistance.
“The subjects of one of the Western countries, present at the Ukrainian decision-making centers in Kyiv in the capacity of advisers, will not necessarily constitute a problem for Russia in making a decision to retaliate,” the ministry added.
The comments come two days after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv.
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The trip was the highest-level American visit to Ukraine since the war began more than 60 days ago.
Multiple blasts were reported at a Russian ammunition depot in the Belgorod region and Russia claimed to have intercepted drones in two other border regions Wednesday.
Russia has previously accused Ukraine of hitting cross-border targets, but Kyiv has not taken responsibility for any such attacks.
Though Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak called the Wednesday blasts “karma.”
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“If you decide to massively attack another country, massively kill everyone there, massively crush peaceful people with tanks, and use warehouses in your regions to enable the killings, then sooner or later the debts will have to be repaid,” he said.
NATO allies this week renewed pledges to continue arming and aiding Ukraine as it prepares for what defense officials have warned will be a brutal second offensive by Russian forces.
Greg Norman contributed to this report.