Russia vows retaliation against US after use of American missiles in Crimea strike

MOSCOW: The Kremlin has directly accused the United States of complicity in a recent attack on Crimea, involving ATACMS missiles supplied by the US, which resulted in the death of at least four people and injuries to 151 others.

Following the incident, Moscow issued a formal warning of retaliation through the US ambassador.

This incident marks a significant escalation in the ongoing Ukraine conflict, further deteriorating Russia-West relations, which Russian officials describe as entering a perilously dangerous phase. The direct attribution of the Crimea attack to US involvement underscores a profound deepening of tensions.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov expressed his dismay, stating, “You should ask my colleagues in Europe, and above all in Washington, why their governments are killing Russian children,” in response to questions about the civilian casualties, including two children.

The attack occurred near Sevastopol on Sunday, with visuals of panicked civilians fleeing a beach area and the injured being hastily evacuated. While Kyiv has remained silent on the incident, it has consistently denied targeting civilians.

The Russian government asserts that the US not only provided the missiles but also played a role in their targeting. In response, the US State Department, through spokesperson Matthew Miller, expressed regret over civilian losses and reiterated that the weaponry supplied to Ukraine was meant to defend its sovereignty, including over Crimea.

Pentagon spokesperson Major Charlie Dietz emphasized Ukraine’s autonomy in military operations, stating, “Ukraine makes its own targeting decisions.” An American official later clarified that the targeted missile intercepted by Russia was not aimed at civilians but a military installation, unfortunately resulting in civilian casualties due to shrapnel.

Amid these tensions, President Vladimir Putin has highlighted the risk of a broader conflict involving nuclear powers, although he maintains that Russia seeks to avoid direct confrontation with NATO. Conversely, US President Joe Biden has assured that US troops will not be deployed to Ukraine, emphasizing that any direct conflict between NATO and Russia could escalate to World War Three.

Putin views the conflict as part of a broader confrontation with the US, stemming from post-Soviet Union grievances. Meanwhile, Western leaders and Ukraine portray the war as an attempt by Russia to reclaim territory, denying any intentions to dismantle Russia.

Following the US decision to allow Ukraine to use certain weapons on Russian soil, Putin has ramped up military readiness, including nuclear drills and strategic alliances, reflecting the Kremlin’s perception of escalating threats.

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