Russia threatens ‘escalation’ of Ukraine war if the West continues to send weapons to help Kyiv fight off occupiers
- Andrei Kelin said the actions of NATO risk triggering a ‘new dimension’ in the war
- He said Russia has ‘enormous resources’ and hasn’t started to ‘act very seriously’
- READ MORE: Putin pummels Kyiv with dozens of ‘kamikaze’ drones overnight
Russia’s ambassador to the UK has warned of an escalation to the war in Ukraine as Britain and other Western allies commit more weapons to aid President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Andrei Kelin said the actions of NATO countries, ‘especially’ the UK, risk lengthening and triggering a ‘new dimension’ in the war.
He said Russia has ‘enormous resources’ and despite the war already raging for over a year, he claimed his country had not yet started to ‘act very seriously’.
The ambassador also hit back at the widespread mounting evidence of Russia’s war crimes, alleging Ukraine was the one committing war crimes. He then changed tack and said the United Nations had no power to investigate war crimes.
His remarks come after Kyiv was subjected to the largest drone attack since the start of the war overnight, local officials said, leaving at least one person was killed.
Andrei Kelin (left) told BBC ‘s Laura Kuenssberg (right) on Sunday that the actions of NATO countries, ‘especially’ the UK, risk lengthening and triggering a ‘new dimension’ in the war
Putin’s ambassador to Britain has warned of ‘escalation’ as the West sends Zelensky more weapons to fend off invaders
Mr Kelin’s remarks come after Kyiv was subjected to the largest drone attack since the start of the war overnight, local officials said, leaving at least one person was killed. Pictured: The explosion of a drone after it was shot down early Sunday morning
Mr Kelin touted Russia’s ‘enormous resources’ and cautioned that Western supplies of weapons to Ukraine risked escalating the war to a ‘new dimension.’
He told BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg on Sunday: ‘Russia is 16 times bigger than Ukraine. We have enormous resources.
‘Sooner or later, of course, this escalation may get a new dimension which we do not need and we do not want. We can make peace tomorrow.’
He added that the length of the conflict ‘depends on the efforts in escalation of war that is being undertaken by NATO countries, especially by the UK.’
Mr Kelin’s comments are typical of Russian officials’ rhetoric with regard to Moscow’s military might, but contradict regular reports from the battlefield of Russian troops being poorly equipped and trained.
Russia launched the ‘most massive attack’ on the Ukrainian capital overnight Saturday with Iranian-made Shahed drones as Kyiv prepared to mark the anniversary of its founding on Sunday.
The attack lasted more than five hours, with air defence reportedly shooting down more than 40 drones, said Serhii Popko, a senior Kyiv military official.
A 41-year-old man was killed and a 35-year-old woman was hospitalised when debris fell on a seven-story nonresidential building and started a fire, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.
Mr Kelin added that the length of the conflict ‘depends on the efforts in escalation of war that is being undertaken by NATO countries, especially by the UK
The attack lasted more than five hours, with air defence reportedly shooting down more than 40 drones. The explosion of a drone early Sunday morning is pictured
A rescuer is seen putting out a fire in a building as a result of falling debris after a massive drone attack overnight
Volodymyr Zelensky attends the occasion of the Day of the State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection (SSSCIP) of Ukraine on May 25
Ukraine’s air force said that Saturday night was also record-breaking in terms of Shahed drone attacks across the country. Of the 54 drones launched, 52 were shot down by air defence systems.
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In a cinematic video shared online by Ukrainian commanders, a narrator can be heard asking for blessings for his troops
In the northeastern Kharkiv province, regional Gov. Oleh Syniehubov said a 61-year-old woman and a 60-year-old man were killed in two separate shelling attacks.
The timing of the drone attacks was likely not coincidental, Ukrainian officials said, citing how they came as the city prepared to celebrate Kyiv Day – which marks the anniversary of Kyiv’s official founding.
The day is usually celebrated with live concerts, street fairs, exhibitions and fireworks. Scaled-back festivities were planned for this year, the city’s 1,541st anniversary.
‘The history of Ukraine is a long-standing irritant for the insecure Russians,’ Ukraine’s chief presidential aide, Andriy Yermak, said on Telegram.
‘Today, the enemy decided to `congratulate’ the people of Kyiv on Kyiv Day with the help of their deadly UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles),’ Popko also wrote on the messaging app.
Local officials in Russia’s southern Krasnodar region said that air defence systems destroyed several drones as they approached the Ilsky oil refinery.
Drone attacks against Russian border regions have been a regular occurrence since the start of the invasion in February 2022, with attacks increasing last month. Earlier this month, an oil refinery in Krasnodar was attacked by drones on two straight days.
Firefighters work at a site of a tobacco factory damaged during Russian suicide drone strike early Sunday morning
Falling debris at buildings on Sunday morning after Russia dropped an air strike on Kyiv
Rescuers work at a site of a building damaged during a Russian strike on Sunday morning
Ukrainian air defences, bolstered by sophisticated Western-supplied systems, have been adept at thwarting Russian air attacks – both drones and aircraft missiles.
Earlier in May, Ukraine prevented an intense Russian air attack on Kyiv, shooting down all missiles aimed at the capital.
The bombardment, which additionally targeted locations across Ukraine, included six Russian Kinzhal aero-ballistic hyper-sonic missiles, repeatedly touted by Russian President Vladimir Putin as providing a key strategic competitive advantage and among the most advanced weapons in his country’s arsenal.
Sophisticated Western air defence systems, including American-made Patriot missiles, have helped spare Kyiv from the kind of destruction witnessed along the main front line in the country’s east and south.
While most of the ground fighting is stalemated along that front line, both sides are targeting other territory with long-range weapons.
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