Exclusive: If US, German tanks try to seize Russia’s constitutional territory, severe retaliatory action will follow, says Russian Ambassador to China
Published: Feb 25, 2023 03:02 PM
Photo: Courtesy of Russian Embassy in Beijing

Photo: Courtesy of Russian Embassy in Beijing

"German tanks have already appeared on Russian soil. I hope that Berlin does not forget how things ended up. I firmly believe that this time, our people will still stand the test," Russian Ambassador to China Igor Morgulov told the Global Times in an exclusive interview when talking about some Western countries' plan to send tanks to aid Ukraine.

He said that if the weapons including tanks provided by Washington and NATO countries are used to seize Russia's "constitutional territory" or used a sub-caliber armor-piercing projectile with a uranium core, Russia will take "severe retaliatory action" and may have serious consequences. 

The leaders of the US and Germany each announced they will send M1 Abrams tanks and Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. Ukraine is now also asking for supply of fighter jets. After the announcement by the US and Germany to send tanks, Kiev said it is "an important step on the path to victory."

Morgulov told the Global Times that the decision by the US, Germany, and other NATO countries to supply Ukraine with tanks led to a further escalation of the Ukrainian crisis and became irrefutable evidence of the direct involvement of Western countries in the conflict.

"The supply of tanks showed that Washington has no 'bottom lines.' If Washington and NATO countries provide Kiev with weapons including tanks in order to strike deep inside our country and attempt to seize our constitutional territory, it will force us to take severe retaliatory action," he said. 

He warned that "the Leopard 2 tank is equipped with a sub-caliber armor-piercing projectile with a uranium core, the use of which will contaminate the area, as happened in the past in Yugoslavia and Iraq. If they hand over such shells to Ukraine, we will consider it a 'dirty bomb' against Russia, with serious consequences to follow." 

Analysts believe that on the first anniversary of the Ukraine crisis, Russia's new "spring offensive" against Ukraine has already begun. Some analysts believe that Russia's preparations for a large-scale offensive may exceed the level of February 24, 2022. At the same time, Ukraine is also preparing shells, waiting for the arrival of tanks and artillery aided by the West to launch a counterattack. The situation on the Russia-Ukraine battlefield is escalating, and the prospect of resolving the crisis through political negotiations between the two sides seems bleak.

"A ceasefire and an end to the conflict is what we have consistently called for, but only if the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation and its legitimate security interests are respected," Morgulov told the Global Times.

"In the spring of 2022, we almost agreed upon the basic terms for a ceasefire… But the West was reluctant to end the conflict."

The Russian diplomat said that they have never refused to negotiate with Kiev and are open to dialogue with its Western patrons. But this can only happen "when they are able to adopt an attitude of mutual respect and genuine interest, acknowledge current realities, and show a willingness to take our fundamental interests and concerns into account."