Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said at a briefing on Wednesday that the attack was “planned in advance using Western intelligence means, NATO satellite assets, and reconnaissance planes.”
Zakharova added that the attack, which took place on September 22, was planned and carried out at the behest of and in close coordination with British and American intelligence.
“The clear objective of these terrorist attacks was to divert attention from the failure of the Ukrainian army's counteroffensive and to intimidate the people, instilling panic in our society,” Zakharova said, expressing her conviction that they would not achieve their goals.
This came as the Russian defense ministry released the video and photos on Tuesday, showing commander Adm. Viktor Sokolov -- one of Moscow's most senior naval officers -- taking part in a meeting of military leaders that was led by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
Kiev claimed on Monday that its special forces had killed 34 officers, including Sokolov, in an unprecedented strike on the fleet's naval headquarters in the port city of Sevastopol in the Crimean Peninsula last week.
Ukraine said the strike that put a large hole in the main building of the headquarters had wounded 105 people, without providing supporting evidence.
Zakharova said Moscow is aware of the arrival of the US-made Abrams tanks to Ukraine, noting that “a limited number” of tanks of “old modification” have been supplied.
“According to experts, this will not change the situation in the zone of contact of the armed forces of the Russian Federation with the armed formations of the Kiev regime,” she said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday announced the arrival of US Abrams tanks in Ukraine and said that “we are preparing to reinforce our brigades.”
Zakharova's remarks follow comments made Tuesday by Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, who said the arrival of American-made Abrams tanks in Ukraine and a US promise to supply an unspecified number of long-range ATACMS missiles would push NATO closer to a direct conflict with Russia.
Moscow has repeatedly warned that the US and its NATO allies have effectively become involved in the conflict by supplying weapons to Ukraine and providing it with intelligence information and helping plan attacks on Russian facilities.
Although the US and other Western partners have provided military equipment and training to Ukraine, US officials have previously denied playing a direct role in the Russia- Ukraine conflict.
Unconfirmed news reports have said Storm Shadow missiles provided to Ukraine by the UK and France were used in the attack on the headquarters.
The administration of US President Joe Biden has supplied more than $43 billion worth of arms to Ukraine since Russia launched its “special military operation” in Ukraine in February last year.
Biden also announced a new military aid package worth $325 million for Ukraine, including counter-airstrike systems, dual-purpose improved conventional munitions, and anti-tank weapons, among others, US Department of Defense said in a press release last week.
Source: Press TV#Joe_Biden #Russia #Ukraine 23-09-28
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