MOSCOW, February 9. /TASS/. Speculations about a hypothetical deployment of missile defense systems THAAD near Kharkov are an act of blackmail and a provocation, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told the media.
"Everything that is happening in this field from the standpoint of supplying Ukraine with military equipment, ammunition and weapons, including lethal weapons, is an attempt to exert extra pressure, including military-technical pressure, on Russia. Obviously, there is a great deal of blackmail involved, too," Ryabkov said.
He stressed that Russia had to state with regret that "this group of [Russia’s] opponents has virtually nothing left in its arsenal by and large."
"Instead of de-escalation, including an unconditional demand Kiev comply with the Minsk agreements to the full extent there have followed all sorts of media fakes. Some of these are obviously addressed to the incompetent public at large, which is eager to buy any such news, in particular, negative sensations. But we do not yield to provocations. What he have seen is a provocation of the first water," Ryabkov concluded.
On Monday, a diplomatic source told TASS that Kiev had asked Washington to deploy THAAD systems near Kharkov.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the systems’ deployment in Ukraine would be another step towards destabilization.
THAAD is a ground-based mobile missile defense system for high-altitude interception of intermediate and shorter-range ballistic missiles in the terminal phase (descent or reentry).