Russia says Patriot missiles for Kyiv won't help settle Ukraine conflict

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov attends a news conference of Russian President Vladimir Putin following the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan September 16, 2022. Sputnik/Sergey Bobylev/Pool via REUTERS

LONDON, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Russia said on Thursday that U.S. supplies of Patriot missile systems to Ukraine, announced during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's visit to Washington, would not contribute to settling the conflict or prevent Russia from achieving its goals.

In a call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said of the Patriot shipment: "This is not conducive to a speedy settlement, quite the contrary. And this cannot prevent the Russian Federation from achieving its goals during the special military operation", using Russia's term for the war.

Peskov said that there had been no calls for peace or signs of willingness to "listen to Russia's concerns" during Zelenskiy's visit on Wednesday, proving that the United States was fighting a proxy war with Russia "to the last Ukrainian".

Zelenskiy's visit to the United States was his first trip outside the country since Russia invaded it on Feb. 24.

Before addressing a joint meeting of Congress, Zelenskiy held a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House, during which Biden pledged to deliver one Patriot surface-to-air missile battery systems.

Ukraine had previously requested Patriots, saying that they would help bolster its air defences as Russian missile strikes on critical infrastructure have become more regular.

The Patriot is one of the most advanced U.S. air defence systems, capable of intercepting threats, such as aircraft and ballistic missiles.

Ukrainian troops will learn how to use it in Germany, and it will be several months before they can deploy it on the battlefield. Moscow has said once deployed, the systems will be a legitimate target for Russian strikes.

Reporting by Reuters Editing by Tomasz Janowski

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