Russia warns “America has chosen the path of war” over Ukraine


Russia’s top diplomat in the United States has shared with Newsweek a stark warning to Washington in Moscow’s first reaction to President Joe Biden‘s signing of a bill to provide some $61 billion in additional wartime aid to Ukraine.

The assistance is viewed by Kyiv and its largely Western supporters as a major boost to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as his forces struggle to fend off recent Russian advances, and Ukrainian cities come under regular missile and drone attack more than two years into Europe’s deadliest conflict in decades. For Moscow, the latest tranche is considered another escalatory step toward an all-out conflict among major powers.

“America has chosen the path of war and agonizing delays of the inevitable collapse of the Zelensky regime,” Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov told Newsweek. “With their decision, local politicians are actually deciding the fate of an entire country, which is being used as a ‘battering ram’ against Russia.”

While the U.S. has portrayed the conflict as a full-scale war of aggression launched more than two years ago by Russia against its neighbor after a long pattern of hybrid hostility, Moscow has considered the ongoing confrontation to be the culmination of NATO expansionism along Russia’s borders. Now, Antonov has accused the U.S. of having “launched an all-out hybrid war against us,” with the Biden administration “encouraging attacks on Russian territory, including strategic deterrent facilities.”

With ties between Washington and Moscow having deteriorated to the point of even nuclear talks failing, Antonov said that “the U.S. did not leave us any leeway while bringing down the much-needed and beneficial bilateral strategic dossier, putting the world before the nuclear threat being escalated by Washington.”

“Thus, the United States is performing a balancing act above burning ground. With bravado of a duelist, it fatally balances on the brink of a direct clash between nuclear powers,” he added. “But it can no longer stay on the thin, worn out ‘tightrope’ of the world order. The U.S. is ready to rush headlong into the abyss, dragging others with it.”

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks after signing a $95 foreign aid bill for Ukraine and other initiatives at the White House in Washington, D.C., on April 24, 2024. Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. claimed it…


The Ukraine aid package is part of a broader $95 billion foreign aid bill that will also provide additional assistance to Israel amid its ongoing war in the Gaza Strip and for Taiwan as it contends with threats from China, amid other global initiatives. After winning the support of the House of Representatives on Saturday, the bill passed through the Senate on Tuesday, with Biden signing the bill into law on Wednesday.

“We are sending a powerful message today about the power of American leadership as we support Ukraine’s fight against Russian aggression,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement following the announcement. “The United States will continue to work with the coalition of more than 50 countries we have assembled to provide critical support for Ukraine’s forces.”

The Pentagon also issued a statement outlining an array of arms and ammunition to be sent to Ukraine through the latest package, including air defense missiles, surface-to-surface missiles, mortar and artillery rounds, precision aerial munitions, armored vehicles, anti-personnel mines and other forms of equipment.

“This package will surge munitions, weapons, and equipment forward to support Ukraine’s ability to defend its frontlines, protect its cities, and counter Russia’s continued attacks,” the Pentagon said.

Zelensky also welcomed the move, which came despite growing political infighting in Washington over the future of open-ended to Ukraine amid other U.S. foreign and domestic commitments.

“Regardless of what anyone says,” Zelensky said in a statement, “we are gaining the support we need to continue protecting lives from Russian attacks.”

The Ukrainian leader expressed his gratitude to Biden, Congress “and all Americans who recognize that we must cut the ground under [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s feet rather than obeying him, as this is the only way to truly reduce threats to freedom.” He said the provisions included in the package “include the exact types of weapons that our warriors require.”

But amid celebrations among Ukraine’s supporters at home and abroad, Antonov argued that “in the United States they do not even try to hide their satisfaction with the fact that the U.S. military-industrial complex is flooded with new orders.”

He alleged that U.S.-provided systems such as the MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) have been used by Ukrainian forces “against ordinary civilians,” blaming Kyiv for a reported attack at a blood transfusion center in Russia-occupied Gorlovka said to have been conducted with a M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).

HIMARS were among the systems included in the latest U.S. aid package, and State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel confirmed Wednesday that Biden had “quietly” ordered ATACMs to be sent to Ukraine for use only on Ukrainian territory in February.

Ukrainian officials have repeatedly denied Russian allegations of war crimes and have pointed to a long list of systemic abuses said to have been committed throughout the conflict by Moscow, which also rejects the charges. Meanwhile, both sides have remained locked in a prevailing stalemate on the ground, though recent reports indicate Russian troops made notable advances along northwest of the city of Avdiivka, which they seized earlier this year.

While some outside peace proposals have emerged, neither Kyiv nor Moscow have officially signed onto any direct talks to end the war. As for Washington’s stance, a State Department official reiterated to Newsweek the U.S. position of negotiation “nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine.”

“No one wants this war to end more than Ukraine and its people, but any decisions about negotiations are up to President Zelenskyy,” the State Department spokesperson said. “Any initiative for a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in Ukraine must be based on full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, within its internationally recognized borders and consistent with the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter.”

The State Department spokesperson also put the onus of putting an end to the conflict on Moscow.

“The other key part of this is obviously Russia,” the State Department spokesperson said. “Russia is the sole obstacle to peace in Ukraine. The Kremlin has yet to demonstrate any meaningful interest in ending its war, quite the opposite. Russia started this war and Russia could end this war today.”

Ukrainian, HIMARS, launches, attack, on, Russian, military
A U.S.-provided M142 HIMARS launches a rocket on Russian position on December 29, 2023, in an unspecified location within Ukraine.

Serhii Mykhalchuk/Global Images Ukraine/Getty Images

In addition to providing military and economic assistance to Ukraine, the White House has also launched a broad sanctions campaign against Russia. The new U.S. legislation would pave the way for the transfer of billions of dollars’ worth of frozen Russian assets toward a special fund for supporting Ukraine.

Antonov saw this as a part of the “same weapon” against Moscow, “albeit a financial one.”

“Russophobes are trying to cover up robbery with pseudo-legal arguments,” Antonov said. “At the same time, they are not at all embarrassed by their actions, while trampling on the very sacred principles of the inviolability of property that America so boasts of. The international financial system will inevitably break down.”

And with ties between two of the world’s top nuclear powers already at an all-time low, the Russian envoy argued that the new legislation would only further alienate any chance for rapprochement in the future.

“The compiled ‘explosive mixture’ of legislative acts points to a hostile radicalization of the consciousness of local elites and takes a particular toll on the prospects for a hypothetical revival of the Russia-U.S. relations in the future,” Antonov said. “What can be seen is a bipartisan consensus of people who failed to destroy the Russian state in the 1990s.”

“For many years, a strategic security safety net existed between our countries that saved Russia-U.S. ties and ensured global stability,” he added. “Nowadays Washington has completely torn it apart.”

Antonov asserted that “America is increasingly driving itself into zugzwang,” a chess reference in which one player is put at a disadvantage due to an obligation to make a move.

“Any measure taken against Russia is a powerful argument, proving the infeasibility of a world subject to unipolar dictate by one country,” Antonov said. “Military supplies from the United States and its allies have been burned, are being burned and will be burned by the Russian Armed Forces.”

And though the U.S. has only doubled down on its commitment to supporting Ukraine indefinitely, he said Russia too has rallied around its leadership, which shows no sign of backing down from the conflict.

“The Russian people are completely united around President Vladimir Putin, our Army and Navy. Russian citizens understand that our cause is just,” Antonov said. “All goals and objectives of the Special Military Operation will be achieved.”

Update 04/25/2024, 3:32 p.m. ET: This article has been updated to include comments from a U.S. State Department spokesperson.