Defense and National Security – Russia strikes out over the West’s armament of Ukraine

AP / Madeline Monroe / The Hill Illustration

Russia has reportedly warned the United States in a letter that shipments of sensitive weapons to Ukraine could lead to “unpredictable consequences.”

We will break down the letter and the assistance that Washington has been sending to Ukraine since the Russian invasion began. Plus, we’ll talk about the Pentagon, which supports Ukraine’s claim that it hit an important Russian warship with two missiles.

This is Defense and National Security, your nightly guide to the latest developments in the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. For The Hill, I’m Jordan Williams. Does a friend send you this newsletter? Sign up here.

Russia warns of ‘unpredictable consequences’

Russia has sent a formal letter to the United States warning that shipments of sensitive weapons from the United States and NATO exacerbated tensions in Ukraine and could lead to “unpredictable consequences,” The Washington Post reported.

The letter, which was seen by Posten, added that the United States has violated the rules for transferring weapons to conflict zones.

Russia further accused NATO of obstructing early peace talks with Ukraine “to continue the bloodshed.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs refused to confirm any private diplomatic correspondence.

A spokesman added, however, that it can confirm that, along with allies and partners, “we are providing billions of dollars in security assistance to Ukraine, which our Ukrainian partners are using to extraordinary effect to defend their country against Russia’s unprovoked aggression and horrific violence.”

How Washington arms Ukraine: The Biden administration on Wednesday unveiled $ 800 million in additional military equipment for Ukraine as Russia prepares to launch an offensive in the eastern part of the country.

The United States has rushed more than $ 3.2 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden administration, including $ 2.6 billion since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

The latest round of US security assistance includes a mix of weapons and other supplies that Washington has already provided to Kyiv, as well as new capabilities that had not previously been sent over.


Officials in the Biden administration are seeking to arm Ukraine with more advanced and deadly weapons, stepping in to change a policy in the White House that has been criticized for being too slow and cautious in its decision-making.

While President Biden’s announcement of the new $ 800 million security assistance did not live up to the specific requests from Ukraine, it also represented a real shift.

Charles Kupchan, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said the latest package of military assistance is a “significant change” and is a sign that the administration and US allies have “consistently turned up the heat” on Russia.

“Are there still red lines? Yes,” he added, but said the United States has gone all the way up to these lines without crossing them.

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Pentagon supports Ukraine’s claim to Russian warship

Ukrainian forces hit the Russian warship Moscow with two Neptune missiles, causing it to ignite and sink in the Black Sea, the Pentagon told The Hill Friday.

The US claim supports the report of Ukrainian forces, which on Thursday claimed to have hit Moscow with anti-ship cruise missiles, severely damaging what is known as the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

Has Russia recognized this? Russia only acknowledged that the entire crew of the vessel was forced to evacuate after a fire overnight caused the ship’s stored ammunition to explode, but did not mention an attack.

The Russian navy later tried to tow the ship into port on the Crimean peninsula for repair, but it sank.

Possible consequences: Moscow – which can carry a crew of about 500 – gained prominence at the start of the invasion when it told Ukrainian troops on Snake Island to surrender, only to be asked to “f-” itself. The moment was widely shared as a rallying cry and sign of Ukrainian resistance.

Its sinking could lead to an increase in the Kremlin’s attack on Ukraine. The Russian Defense Ministry warned that it would increase the strikes in retaliation for hits on Moscow assets, though it continued to deny that the ship had been successfully attacked.

Read the story here.

Graham leads by-score to Taiwan

Late. Lindsey Graham (RS.C.) led a group of six members of U.S. lawmakers on a two-day visit to Taiwan this week, a visit that has sparked anger from Beijing.

Graham tweeted that the people of Taiwan are “great allies of the United States” and called Taiwan “a beacon of freedom in a troubled region.”

Who went to Taiwan? Graham along with Senator Bob Menendez (DN.J.), Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and sens. Richard Burr (RN.C.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) And rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) landed at Taiwan’s Songshan Airport in Taipei on Friday.

China responds: Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian in Beijing condemned the visit on Thursday, saying “China is strongly opposed to any official exchange between the United States and Taiwan.”

“Relevant U.S. lawmakers should adhere to the one-China policy pursued by the U.S. government. The United States should… stop official contacts with Taiwan and avoid going further down the dangerous road,” Zhao said at a daily briefing.

“We will continue to take strong action to resolutely ensure national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Zhao said.

The Chinese military also announced that it had conducted military exercises around Taiwan on Friday as the two-day visit by the delegation of U.S. lawmakers was underway.

Recent fears of Taiwan: China warned the United States against supporting Taiwan and trying to build a Pacific version of NATO earlier this year in the midst of the crisis in Ukraine, which opposes a Russian invasion.

Moscow’s actions raised fears for the future of Taiwan, over which China claims sovereignty.

More generally, concerns about a Chinese invasion of Taiwan had increased over the past year.

Read the full story here.


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That was it for today! Check out The Hill’s Defense and National Security pages for the latest coverage. See you on Monday!


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