The dramatic escalation comes a day after President Joe Biden told Volodymyr Zelensky the US will hand Ukraine devastating long-range missiles dubbed the “wonder weapon” to aid the counteroffensive.
US President Joe Biden has repeatedly said he is seeking to avoid a direct confrontation with Russia, a fellow nuclear power, while his administration has also distanced itself from Ukrainian attacks into Russian territory.
But Lavrov pointed to the billions of dollars in Western military equipment provided to Kyiv since Russia invaded the country last year in February, as well as US and British intelligence support and the presence of Western military advisors.
The West is “de facto fighting against us, using the hands and bodies of Ukrainians,” Lavrov said.
“I think everybody present here who pays at least some attention to (…) the situation in Ukraine knows very well that Americans, Britons and others are fighting, first of all, through providing more and more weapons,” he said
Westerners are “de facto fighting against us, using the hands and bodies of Ukrainians,” Lavrov said, pointing to the billions of dollars in Western military equipment provided to Kyiv since Russia attacked last year. He also indicated the US and British intelligence support and the presence of Western military advisors. Officials in Kyiv reported breaking through Russian defence lines in the south.
And its army said that senior Russian navy commanders had been among dozens killed or wounded in a missile attack on Moscow’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Crimea. Oleksandr Tarnavskiy, the Ukrainian general leading the counteroffensive around the Zaporizhzhia area in the south, told US media that the advance was still underway.
“On the left flank (near the village of Verbove) we have a breakthrough, and we continue to advance further,” he announced in an interview released Friday. Progress had been “not as fast as it was expected not like in the movies about the Second World War,” he added. But it was important, he added, “not to lose this initiative”.
Ukraine launched its counteroffensive to claw back territory from Russian forces in June. Progress has been slow, with much of the territory heavily mined. But Kyiv has in recent weeks reported making strategic advances in the Zaporizhzhia region. And Tarnavskiy did not accept that Ukraine’s push could be further slowed in the coming winter months.
“The weather can be a serious obstacle during advance, but considering how we move forward, mostly without vehicles, I don’t think (it) will heavily influence the counteroffensive,” he said.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an aide to President Volodymyr Zelensky, spelt out Kyiv’s position on the prospects of a long, drawn-out war. “Are the Ukrainian people happy about the prospect of a long war of attrition?” he wrote Saturday on X, formerly Twitter. “Absolutely not. “We are following this path only because there is no other way today.”