Russia threatens to arm U.S. enemies in response to Ukraine weapons supplies

The threats from former Russian President and current Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev came after President Vladimir Putin said Russia was considering ways to hit back at the U.S. and its allies for giving long-range weapons to Kyiv.

Russian officials issued an extraordinary warning on Thursday, suggesting Moscow could start providing offensive weapons to nations hostile to the United States in retaliation for Western military aid to Ukraine.

The threats from former Russian President and current Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev came after President Vladimir Putin said Russia was considering ways to hit back at the U.S. and its allies for giving long-range weapons to Kyiv.

Putin had raised the possibility of retaliatory arms transfers during a meeting with international media on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. He said supplying weapons to entities capable of striking U.S.-allied sites was one possible option as Russia mulls responses to the West’s military support for Ukraine.

Medvedev singled out weapons that could strike sensitive facilities involved in the Ukraine aid effort. The threats drew swift condemnation from the White House, with spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre calling them ridiculous. She reiterated that U.S. arms transfers to Ukraine are legitimate assistance to help defend against Russia’s brutal and unprovoked invasion.

For years, Russia has been a major supplier of arms to U.S. adversaries like Iran, North Korea and the Venezuelan government of Nicolas Maduro. However, directly engaging in offensive weapons transfers intended to enable strikes on the U.S. or its allies would represent a dramatic escalation in tensions.

While some analysts dismissed the Russian rhetoric as bluster, the potential for destabilizing regional conflicts adds a new dimension of risk as the Ukraine war grinds on with no diplomatic resolution in sight.