US President Joe Biden (R) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) visiting the Walk of the Brave on Constitution Square as part of the unveiling ceremony of a plaque dedicated to the US President following a meeting at Mariinsky Palace in Kyiv. (Photo by Handout / UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE / AFP) LEHTIKUVA

International news

On Tuesday, Russia issued a formal protest, known as a demarche, to US ambassador to Moscow Lynne Tracy over continued US efforts to arm Ukraine. The move came shortly after US President Joe Biden's visit to Kiev on Monday, where he pledged another $500 million in military aid to Ukraine, including artillery ammunition, rockets, and anti-armor systems.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it was protesting "the growing involvement of the United States in hostilities on the side of the Kiev regime."

It accused the US of "pumping the Ukrainian military with arms and providing it with targeting information for strikes on Russian military and civilian infrastructure," adding that such policies prove that US assertions of not being a party to the conflict are "inadequate and false."

Moscow also reminded Tracy that both Western-supplied weapons and personnel operating them, including US citizens, are legitimate targets for Russia's military. The ministry noted that if the US wanted to de-escalate the situation, it should take steps to withdraw US-NATO military and equipment and cease hostile anti-Russian activities.

The ministry also urged the US to offer an explanation for the explosions that ruptured the Nord Stream gas pipelines last September and not to "hinder an objective investigation to identify the culprits." This follows an earlier report by American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, which laid blame on Washington for orchestrating attacks on the infrastructure, which the US has denied any involvement in.

Since Russia started its ”military operation” against Ukraine almost one year ago, the US has committed some $30 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, including heavy artillery, air defence systems, and other equipment, according to the Pentagon.