WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Russia’s lower house speaker, Vyacheslav Volodin, said that Russia will respond with “retaliatory measures using more powerful weapons” if NATO allies continue sending weapons to Ukraine.
- Volodin said that Western leaders should consider that Russian weapons’ “technological superiority” could “end in a global tragedy.”
- His statements come as Germany and the U.S. consider whether to heed Ukraine’s requests for more tanks.
Germany, the U.S., and its allies have been considering whether to heed Ukraine’s requests to send tanks.
On Sunday, Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, wrote on Telegram that if the U.S. and NATO send Ukraine weapons that can “strike civilian cities and attempt to seize our territories,” Russia will respond with “retaliatory measures using more powerful weapons.”
Volodin added, “Washington and Brussels are leading the world to a terrible war: to a completely different military action than today, when strikes are carried out exclusively on the military and critical infrastructure used by the Kyiv regime.”
Citing Russian weapons’ “technological superiority,” he said that “foreign politicians need to understand that this could end in a global tragedy that will destroy their countries.”
He said that nuclear powers did not use weapons of mass destruction before since they “did not face a situation where there was a threat to the security of their citizens and the territorial integrity of the country.”
According to a New York Times report, Ukraine has requested German Leopard 2 tanks to replenish its mostly worn-out fleet. While the vehicles can also be provided by other NATO allies, Germany had been reluctant to make the provisions and suggested that it would only do so if the U.S. also sent its own Abrams tanks.
U.S. officials have resisted sending such due to their complex maintenance. But some members of Congress have called for such provisions ahead of a potential springtime offensive by Russia.
“If it requires our sending some Abrams tanks in order to unlock getting the Leopard tanks from Germany, from Poland, from other allies, I would support that,” Delaware Sen. Chris Coons (D) told ABC‘s “This Week” on Sunday.
Texas Rep. Michael McCaul (R), the new head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, expressed a similar sentiment: “Even saying we’re going to put Abrams tanks in, I think would be enough for Germany to unleash.”