A top Kremlin spokesman has warned that the West’s open support for Ukrainian attacks on Russian territory could lead not to Russia’s defeat but to Ukraine’s “total annihilation”.
The warning from Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of propaganda media RT and Sputnik, came after more overnight Ukrainian attacks on the border town of Belgorod, a key supply center for Russian forces in eastern Ukraine.
“Explosions and air defense sirens in Belgorod,” Simonyan wrote in a message on Telegram early Thursday. “The Anglo-Saxons publicly encourage Ukraine to expand hostilities into Russian territory. And they give them the means to carry out that plan.
“What choice do you give us, idiots? The total annihilation of what remains of Ukraine? A nuclear strike?”
In Putinist circles the term “Anglo-Saxons” can be used as a catch-all for malignant Western influences, but there seemed little doubt that Simonyan’s message referred to Britain.
British Defense Secretary James Heappey sparked outrage in Moscow earlier this week when he said he thought it was “perfectly legitimate” for Ukrainian forces to attack targets in Russia and that it would “not necessarily be a problem” if they were donated by Britain use weapons.
The British military has been actively training Ukrainian forces since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and deployed special forces to eastern Ukraine. The UK has also supplied large quantities of weapons, including valuable mobile anti-tank weapons.
In an interview with Times Radio, Heappey said: “Ukraine was a sovereign country living peacefully within its ownership borders, and then another country decided to violate those borders and bring 130,000 soldiers into its country.
“It has sparked a war between Ukraine and Russia, and in war Ukraine has to go deep into its opponent to attack its logistics lines, its fuel supply, its ammunition depots, and that’s part of it.”
Putin himself joined the barrage in a speech to lawmakers in St. Petersburg on Wednesday. “If anyone intends to intervene in current events from the outside and create strategic threats to Russia that are unacceptable to us, he should know that our retaliatory strikes will be lightning fast,” he said.
“We have all the tools for it, things that no one else can boast of now. And we will not boast, we will use them when necessary. And I want everyone to know that.”
It is not the first time that Kremlin leaders or propagandists have warned of a nuclear conflagration, although the threats have become clearer and less veiled as the war has progressed.
When he ordered the invasion on February 24, Putin warned that those who tried to prevent Russia from achieving its goals would face “consequences unlike anything you’ve seen in your history” – what understood as nuclear weapons became.
At this point, the invasion still seemed like an almost comfortable imperialist adventure for Putin and his generals, who were very confident that the Ukrainian resistance would soon be wiped out and the government of Volodymyr Zelenskyy would be overthrown. But overwhelmed and opposed by better-prepared Ukrainian forces, the Russians suffered a humiliating setback in the battle for Kyiv.
Forced to retreat, the Russian military is now concentrating its power in areas of eastern and southern Ukraine, making costly but grueling advances as it seeks to encircle Ukrainian forces to the east and seize full control of the Black Sea coast as far north as Odessa .
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said on Thursday that the Russians, now fighting under a single commander, are stepping up their offensives in both eastern Ukraine and the south, “exercising intense fire” on all fronts.
In the early Battle of Kyiv, Russia suffered painful losses at the hands of Ukrainian light infantry and special forces, who used their knowledge of the terrain to take out Russian columns – leaving behind the oxidized remains of Russian tanks and fighting vehicles, identifiable only by the letter “Z” .
Military experts say the final phase of the war — just as crucial to Ukraine’s survival as a nation — is more conventional in terms of warfare, fought on flatter and more open terrain, with the power of each side’s artillery being key to success.
A number of Western nations are sending hundreds of artillery pieces and tens of thousands of shells to Ukraine. The Pentagon on Wednesday published images of dozens of 155mm howitzers being loaded onto a plane at March Air Reserve Base in California.
The ever-increasing flow of arms into Ukraine poses a major problem for the Russians, whose own ammunition factories are largely idle due to a shortage of foreign-made components due to international sanctions. Hence the growing chorus of nuclear threats from the Kremlin and its mouthpieces.