MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s foreign ministry on Thursday attacked the United States and Britain for helping train Ukraine’s armed forces, calling it part of “hybrid warfare” being waged by NATO countries against Russia.
In a media briefing, spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Washington had provided Ukraine with instructors who were helping Kyiv’s forces use advanced U.S.-made high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS).
She noted the rockets, which have a longer range and are more precise than other artillery weapons, were being used “widely” by Ukrainian forces.
“Ukrainian forces are using HIMARS received from the United States everywhere,” Zakharova said. She said Washington had “secretly sent instructors” to Ukraine to help its forces learn how to use and aim the new weapons, resulting in civilian targets in Russian-controlled areas being fired upon.
Both sides have denied targeting civilians and residential areas in the conflict, which has been raging for almost five months.
The U.S. said eight HIMARS systems would be operating in Ukraine by mid-July. Military analysts believe the new weapons could be a game-changer, and Kyiv says it has already used the rockets to destroy multiple Russian ammunition depots in eastern Ukraine.
Zakharova also criticised Britain’s decision to bring hundreds of Ukrainian service personnel to the UK for weapons training. The new initiative from London to train up to 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers over the coming months was part of the West’s “hybrid war” against Moscow, she said.
(Reporting by Reuters)