Russia accuses US of direct role in Ukraine war

Russia has accused the US of direct involvement in the war in Ukraine for the first time.

A spokesperson for Moscow’s defence ministry alleged the US was approving targets for American-made Himars artillery used by Kyiv’s forces.

Lt Gen Igor Konashenkov said intercepted calls between Ukrainian officials revealed the link. The BBC could not independently verify this.

There was no immediate comment on the allegation from US officials.

Russia previously accused Washington of fighting a “proxy war” in Ukraine.

“It is the Biden administration that is directly responsible for all rocket attacks approved by Kyiv on residential areas and civilian infrastructure facilities in settlements of Donbas and other regions that caused mass deaths of civilians,” Mr Konashenkov said.

Himars is a multiple rocket system which can launch precision-guided missiles at targets as far as 70km (45 miles) away – far further than the artillery that Ukraine previously had.

They are also believed to be more accurate than their Russian equivalents.

In April, Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, said US President Joe Biden’s decision to supply Ukraine with billions of dollars’ worth of arms meant “NATO, in essence, was engaged in a war with Russia through a proxy, and was arming that proxy”. “War means war,” the 72-year-old warned.

Throughout the conflict in Ukraine, Russia has been accused of numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity. Last week, Ukraine accused Moscow of bombing a prison in separatist held Donetsk to cover up allegations of torture.

And the BBC has documented allegations of torture and beatings of Ukrainian prisoners by both the Russian military and security services.

Russia has accused the US of seeking to prolong the war in Ukraine after President Joe Biden said he would supply Kyiv with new long-range missiles.

Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the US was “intentionally adding fuel to the fire” with the deliveries.

“Such supplies do not contribute to the Ukrainian leadership’s willingness to resume peace negotiations,” he added.

Separately, the German government has promised to send an air defence system to Ukraine.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz told Members of Parliament (MPs) that the IRIS-T system was the most modern Germany possessed and would enable Ukraine defend an entire city against Russian air attacks. -BBC

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