The decision by the United States and NATO allies to send tanks to Ukraine has made it “pointless” for Moscow to engage in any talks with Kyiv, Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov told state news agency RIA Novosti in an interview released Monday.
“Under the current conditions, when Washington announced the decision to supply tanks, and its vassals, including Ottawa, are competing over who will supply armored vehicles, especially old ones, to Ukraine, and how many of them… it’s pointless to talk,” Ryabkov said, accusing Washington of using Ukraine as a “testing ground” for its weapons.
“We are willing to consider any serious initiatives to resolve the Ukrainian crisis, but so far no one has articulated them properly,” he added.
Ukraine received a boost last week when Germany said it would send 14 of its Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv, while also permitting other countries that possess the Leopards, including Norway, to supply them.
In addition to the Leopards, Ukraine is set to receive heavy armor from both the United States, which is sending 31 M1 Abrams tanks, and the United Kingdom, which has pledged 14 Challenger tanks.
Prisoner swaps: Ryabkov also said Russia and the US will continue negotiations on the exchange of prisoners, but such an ultra-sensitive issue “loves silence,” he said, adding there are few realistic options for an “all for all” prisoner exchange, RIA reported.