Russia warns German defense firm against establishing military plant in Ukraine

Russia warns German defense firm against establishing military plant in Ukraine

If Rheinmetall Group constructs military plant in Ukraine, Moscow will see as 'legitimate target' for strikes, says Foreign Ministry spokeswoman

By Elena Teslova

MOSCOW (AA) – Russia warned on Thursday that if the German defense company Rheinmetall Group constructs a military plant in Ukraine, Moscow will see as a "a legitimate target" for strikes.

"Such a plant, if it is built, will become, along with any other objects of the defense complex of Ukraine, a legitimate target for the armed forces of the Russian Federation.

"And if, once again, these plans are real, then this is, of course, a provocation," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a press briefing in Moscow.

On Feb. 9, Rheinmetall head Armin Papperger told German daily Handelsblatt that the company will be "ready to install a facility in Ukraine for assembling the Panther (tanks) once the war ends," as long as the German government approves the necessary export licenses.

Zakharova also criticized remarks by UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, who said that Ukraine became "a battle laboratory for war technologies," saying London sees Ukrainians as "laboratory test subjects, either mice or rabbits."

"The Anglo-Saxons play the role of a catalyst for the Ukrainian crisis, they contribute to the escalation of this crisis. They cannot be stopped by the death of civilians, huge losses of the armed forces of Ukraine. It's easy for American and British generals to fight now, they sacrifice foreign people," she said.

She also slammed the "thoughtless" EU decision to establish a fund to support the supply of Ukrainian troops, saying it will mean further investment in protracting the combat activities in Ukraine.


- Moscow alleges big capitals lobbying grain deal

Zakharova confirmed that the Russian delegation finished its work in the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul, which has been implementing the grain deal, and left its premises.

She also slammed media reports and public statements accusing Russia of causing food crisis, saying a year ago the Black Sea grain deal was signed amid "global hysteria" in the media about the world on the verge of hunger, especially the poorest countries.

"The year has passed. Have the Western media noticed discrepancies in the stated goals and how they were implemented?" she questioned.

The spokeswoman said the grain deal "turned into some kind of fraud, there was nothing left of the declared humanitarian goals."

According to her, "the Western media were used by the financial, political, and economic elites of the West as a tool to make this deal happen, which in essence had an exclusively commercial background."

The spokeswoman pointed out that the global media ignore the facts that the poorest countries received only 3% of all deliveries under the deal, and some European countries banned export of the Ukrainian food because it was destroying local farmers’ economies.

Besides, the sea corridor was used by Ukraine for attacks on Russia's Black Sea Fleet, and the Russian part was not implemented, she stressed, pointing out that everyone "forgot" about the Tolyatti-Odesa ammonia pipeline after it was blasted in Ukraine, which according to her "provided needs of 45 million people."


- 'CSTO mission would contribute to stabilization in Armenian-Azerbaijani border area’

Asked about the role of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in Karabakh, Zakharova said the region is not included in its area of responsibility.

At the same time, the deployment of the organization's mission in Armenia would make a significant contribution to the stabilization of the situation in the Armenian-Azerbaijani border area, she said.

The spokeswoman assessed the possibility of a trilateral meeting of Armenian, Azerbaijani and Russian foreign ministers in Moscow as "high," saying such contacts are being worked out.

"It seems to me that the chances are very good," she said.

In the fall of 2020, Azerbaijan liberated several cities, villages and settlements from Armenian occupation during 44 days of clashes. The war ended with a Russia-brokered peace agreement.

Despite the ongoing talks on a peace agreement, tensions between the neighboring countries increased in recent months over the Lachin corridor, the only land route giving Armenia access to Karabakh.

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