Moscow has accused Washington of helping Ukraine launch drone attacks on Russian territory. A Kremlin official said the alleged strikes could not have taken place without “sophisticated assistance” from the U.S.
Speaking in Geneva, where he addressed the UN Human Rights Council and the Conference on Disarmament session, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov pointed the finger at American officials over attacks on military bases. He told a press conference:
Some time ago, Kyiv undertook UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) attacks on facilities that provide bases for our long-range aviation in Saratov region and also in Ryazan region.
We know that those attacks would never be possible in the absence of a very deep and sophisticated assistance by the United States to the Ukrainian military, including targeting, of course, intelligence provision and also some technical assistance of other sorts.
As far back as last April, just a couple of months into the conflict in Ukraine, some legal experts were suggesting that the level of support given by Washington—and, by extension, much of the rest of the West—to Kyiv made it a co-belligerent. Constitutional expert and former associate attorney general in the Ronald Reagan administration Bruce Fein told Asia Times:
The United States and several NATO members have become co-belligerents with Ukraine against Russia by systematic and massive assistance to its military forces to defeat Russia.
He added that Western countries could be at risk of attack from Russia because of their “systematic or substantial violations of a neutral’s duties of impartiality and non-participation in the conflict.”
The U.S. was, however, quick in December to stress it had not “enabled” Ukraine to carry out strikes in Russia. Kyiv itself has also never commented on whether it deployed drones in Russian territory. Moscow said in early December that three of its military personnel were killed in what it described as a Ukrainian drone strike on two air bases far from the front lines.