Kremlin brands France and UK's Ukraine comments as 'dangerous'

Kremlin brands France and UK's Ukraine comments as 'dangerous'

Recent statements by French President Emmanuel Macron and UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron about the war in Ukraine are “dangerous” and will deepen international tension around the conflict, the Kremlin’s spokesman said on Friday.

In an interview published on Thursday, Macron repeated an earlier comment that he doesn’t rule out sending troops to Ukraine.

Cameron, meanwhile, said during a visit to Kyiv the same day that Ukraine will be able to use British long-range weapons to strike targets inside Russia - a possibility that some other NATO countries providing weapons have balked at.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov branded Macron’s comment “a very important and very dangerous statement.” Remarks by Macron about possible direct French engagement in the conflict represent a “very dangerous trend,” he said.

Visitors look at a French-made AMX-10RC armored vehicle at an exhibition of Western military equipment captured from Kyiv forces, Moscow on Friday, May 3, 2024.
Visitors look at a French-made AMX-10RC armored vehicle at an exhibition of Western military equipment captured from Kyiv forces, Moscow on Friday, May 3, 2024. - Associated Press

Cameron’s statement about Ukraine’s right to use British weapons provided to strike facilities inside Russia is “another very dangerous statement,” Peskov told reporters.

“This is a direct escalation of tensions around the Ukrainian conflict, which potentially may threaten European security, the entire European security architecture,” Peskov added.

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 significantly heightened tension between the Kremlin and NATO countries. The alliance countries have provided much of the military hardware that Kyiv is using to fight Russia, ensuring that the tension has continued to simmer. Russia, in turn, has sought help from China, Iran and North Korea, according to the US.

German FM says Russia will face consequences for cyberattack

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Russia will face consequences after accusing its military intelligence service of masterminding an “absolutely intolerable” cyberattack, as NATO and European Union member countries said they will not let Russia’s “malicious" behavior in cyberspace go unanswered.

Relations between Russia and Germany were already tense over German military support to Ukraine.

Baerbock said Russian state hackers were behind a cyberattack last year that targeted the Social Democrats, the leading party in the governing coalition. The German Interior Ministry added that German companies, including in the defense and aerospace sectors, as well as targets related to Russia’s war in Ukraine were a focus of the attacks.

The Council of the EU and the Czech Foreign Ministry said that Czechia's institutions have also been a target of a cyber campaign by the same group.

The ministry said APT28, which is associated with the Russian military intelligence service GRU, exploited a previously unknown vulnerability in Microsoft Outlook from 2023.

In a statement by Josep Borrell, the EU’s top diplomat said they “strongly condemn the malicious cyber campaign conducted by the Russia-controlled APT28 against Germany and Czechia.”

The EU noted that it had previously imposed sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for APT28 attacks targeting the German parliament in 2015. It said it will not tolerate the continuation of such attacks, particularly with EU elections upcoming in June.

NATO said that APT28 targeted “other national governmental entities, critical infrastructure operators and other entities across the Alliance," including in Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Sweden.

Ukraine urges West to speed up military aid deliveries

Ukraine’s president and foreign minister on Friday pressed British Foreign Secretary David Cameron to accelerate the delivery of promised military aid to Kyiv, as Russia heaps battlefield pressure on depleted Ukrainian forces in the third year of the war.

“It is important that the weapons included in the UK support package announced last week arrive as soon as possible,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on the social platform X, as Cameron visited Kyiv on Thursday.

He said armored vehicles, ammunition and missiles of various types were top of the list.

Vital support pledged by Western allies to help Ukraine fend off the Kremlin’s forces has been delayed by political disagreements in the US and a lack of manufacturing capacity in Europe. That has opened a door to advances for the bigger and better-equipped Russian army, especially along the front line in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine and its Western partners are in a race against the clock to deploy the new military aid, especially a fresh batch of US support, in the coming weeks and prevent Russia from taking more ground.

The pressing concern at the moment is keeping the strategic eastern hilltop city of Chasiv Yar out of Russian hands. Capturing the city would offer Russia the opportunity of attacking other key cities deeper inside the Donetsk region and hitting important Ukrainian supply lines.