People gather around a Christmas tree in Kyiv's Sophia Square. Ukrainians are preparing to celebrate Christmas despite the ongoing Russian invasion. People gather around a Christmas tree in Kyiv's Sophia Square. Ukrainians are preparing to celebrate Christmas despite the ongoing Russian invasion. 

Russia warns of military confrontation with the United States

Russia suggests the possibility of a military confrontation with the United States is serious after Washington announces more military aid to wartorn Ukraine.

By Stefan J. Bos 

Russia's ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, told Russian media that the risk of a clash between America and Russia was "high."

Antonov compared the state of U.S.-Russia relations to an "ice age" and warned it was hard to say when talks between the two sides could resume.

He told the Russian-state-run Tass news agency that Washington needed time "to realize the futility of its policy towards Moscow."

Earlier, Moscow accused the U.S. of fighting a proxy war against Russia.

Listen to Stefan Bos' report

The accusations came after Washington boosted military support for Ukraine and hosted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the White House and the U.S. Congress.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the U.S. support package, including the highly-sought after Patriot missile defense system, was "not conducive to a speedy settlement."

The White House announced a further $1.85 billion in aid, including, for the first time, Patriot air defense missiles to protect Ukraine's infrastructure, already crippled by Russian attacks.

Netherlands support

In Europe, the Netherlands was among other countries announcing Friday it would support Ukraine next year with 2.5 billion euros ($2.4 billion) dollars in military aid and support for reconstructing the wartorn nation.

Russia claims the military support by the West could escalate the war, but the secretary general of the Western NATO military alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, disagrees. "So if we want a negotiated solution that assures that Ukraine prevails as a sovereign independent nation, the best and fastest way to achieve that is to support them militarily," he said.

"So [Russian President Vladimir] Putin understands that he cannot win on the battlefield but has to sit down and negotiate in good faith," Stoltenberg added.   

As air raid sirens were heard in several parts of Ukraine on Friday, President Zelensky was back at work in Ukraine following his trip to the United States. Kyiv said Russia's military seems determined to ensure that millions of people will freeze this winter without access to electricity or other means to stay warm.

But with Moscow running out of missiles, Russia is reportedly seeking military support from other nations, including Iran and North Korea.

However, North Korea's foreign ministry denied reports it supplied munitions to Russia. It called the charges "groundless" and denounced the United States for providing lethal weapons to Ukraine.

Thank you for reading our article. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to our daily newsletter. Just click here

23 December 2022, 17:40