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Russia says US long-range missiles aimed at Kiev will cross the red line

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that if the United States decided to supply Kyiv with long-range missiles, it would cross a “red line” and become a “party to the conflict”.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news briefing that Russia “reserves the right to defend its territory.”

Washington has openly supplied Ukraine with advanced GMLRS missiles, fired from HIMARS launchers, which can hit targets 80 kilometers (50 miles) away.

“If Washington decides to supply Kyiv with long-range missiles, it will cross the red line and become a direct party to the conflict,” Zakharova said.

US officials say Ukraine has promised not to use US missiles to strike Russia itself.

HIMARS launchers can also be used to launch ATACMS long-range tactical missiles, which can have a range of up to 300 km. A senior Ukrainian official declined to say on August 19 whether Kyiv now has ATACMS.

There has been no full public explanation for the August 9 attack that hit a Russian air base in Saki, about 200 km from the nearest Ukrainian-controlled region, in Crimea, which Moscow occupied in 2014 and is considered Russian territory.

Ukraine requested and received large quantities of arms from the United States and other Western allies to help it resist the Russian armed forces that were sent to Ukraine in February.

Moscow says it has sent troops to prevent Ukraine from being used as a platform for Western aggression and to defend Russian speakers. Kyiv and its Western allies reject these arguments as unfounded excuses for an aggressive imperial-style war.

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