Putin Issues Fresh Warning to West Over Missile Supplies

Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a renewed threat to Western leaders that Moscow would order strikes on new targets should the U.S. supply Ukraine with long-range missiles, according to a state-owned mouthpiece.

The TASS news agency quoted Putin's comments from a Sunday, June 5, interview on Rossiya-1, where the Russian leader mentioned the delivery of U.S. rocket systems to Ukraine.

Putin said if the long-range rockets were delivered that Russia would strike new locations, although he stopped short of mentioning where these targets might be.

He added: "If it now comes to rockets and they are supplied, we will draw conclusions from that and employ our weapons that we have in sufficient quantities to strike those facilities that we are not attacking so far."

Photo of Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers an address to the participants of the Bolshaya Peremena All-Russian contest for school students via a video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow, on June 1, 2022. Putin said Russia could strike new targets if the U.S. armed Ukraine. Getty

It comes after President Joe Biden announced earlier this week that the U.S. would provide Ukraine with "more advanced rocket systems and munitions."

The U.S. Department of Defense on Wednesday announced new security assistance for Ukraine worth an estimated $700 million.

During the interview, Putin claimed the "fuss" of armament deliveries to Kyiv was to stretch out the conflict as long as possible.

He added the new armaments were being sent to Ukraine in order to refill its depleted stock.

In the interview, Putin said: "We believe that the delivery of rocket systems by the United States and some other countries is related to making up for the losses of this combat hardware. There is nothing new about that and this actually changes nothing"

Putin also claimed Russian air defenses had shot down numerous Ukrainian drones as the conflict moves beyond 100 days.

He said in the same interview: "We do have such systems. Buk, Tor and Pantsyr [air defense] systems are highly effective.

"Our defense systems are operating in such a way and hope that no one if offended, but they are cracking them [drones] like nuts. Tens and tens of such drones have been eliminated."

Newsweek has contacted the office of the President of Ukraine and the Kremlin for comment.

While Russia has faced numerous strategic setbacks during the opening phase of the war, including failing to capture Kyiv, its forces have focused their efforts in eastern Ukraine.

The region is populated by many Russian-speaking people who have been engaged in armed conflict with Ukrainian forces since they declared the breakaway separatist regions of Luhansk and Donetsk were independent of Kyiv's control in 2014.

But pundits on the Kremlin's state-run television channels admitted that some Russian-speaking Ukrainians had been fighting back against Moscow's forces.

It blew a hole in the Kremlin's narrative that Russian forces invaded Ukraine to liberate the peoples of the region and also to de-nazify the country.