The Kremlin on Thursday accused President Joe Biden of seeking to demonize Russia in order to wring more funds from Congress to keep the war in Ukraine going, something Moscow likened to burning US taxpayers’ money in a furnace.
Biden pleaded with Republicans on Wednesday for a fresh infusion of military aid for Ukraine, warning that a victory for Russia over Kyiv would leave Moscow in position to attack NATO allies and could draw US troops into a war.
However, Senate Republicans later on Wednesday blocked Democratic-backed legislation that would have provided billions of dollars in new security assistance for Ukraine, saying they wanted to press their point about the importance of tighter border policy.
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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused Biden of trying to persuade US lawmakers to do something that Moscow has long argued is futile and will merely prolong a war which Russia has said it must win to protect its own security.
“We very much regret that the US leadership continues its habit of using Russia as a tool in its domestic affairs,” said Peskov.
“And in this case specifically, they are engaged in an absolutely blatant demonization of our country in order to manipulate their congressmen and senators in order to continue to burn American taxpayers' money in the furnace of the Ukrainian war.”
“We believe that this is a very unfortunate practice, and we would like to hope that there are still many people with sober minds among American congressmen who understand that this is nothing but absolute demonization aimed at manipulating them.”
Putin sent troops into Ukraine early last year, triggering a war that has killed or wounded hundreds of thousands and led to the biggest confrontation between Russia and the West in six decades.
The West has given Ukraine more than $246 billion in aid and weapons, but a Ukrainian counteroffensive has failed and Russia remains in control of just under a fifth of Ukrainian territory.
In his plea to Republicans on Wednesday, Biden said: “If Putin takes Ukraine, he won’t stop there,” predicting that Putin would go on to attack a NATO ally.
Then, Biden added, “we’ll have something that we don’t seek and that we don’t have today: American troops fighting Russian troops.”
Sergei Naryshkin, Putin's foreign intelligence chief, told the United States earlier on Thursday that Western support for Ukraine would turn the conflict into a “second Vietnam” haunting Washington for years to come.
“Ultimately, the US risks creating a ‘second Vietnam’ for itself, and every new American administration will have to try to deal with it,” the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), said in an article.