Athens signaled this week there would be no more weapons shipments to Ukraine, as reports emerged that Moscow has also warned Washington that US and NATO weaponry sent to Kiev could bring “unpredictable consequences.”
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Greek Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos earlier this week rejected a call for more military gear for Ukraine, citing Greece’s defense needs and reassuring members of a House committee “we are not going to weaken our country.”
“Any defense equipment we have sent to Ukraine, because sending anything additional has not come up, came out of our inventory,” Panagiotopoulos said.
It was not clear whether western allies have also received similar diplomatic messages but Russia recently stated it would treat arms shipments to Ukraine from NATO countries as 'legitimate targets'
Greece and the Republic of Cyprus have been on the receiving end of calls to send weapons to Ukraine, including Russia-made systems with which Ukrainian armed forces are said to be familiar.
But according to a report by The Washington Post on Friday, Russia sent a diplomatic cable to the United States this week warning there would be "unpredictable consequences" if the Americans kept arming Ukraine.
"We call on the United States and its allies to stop the irresponsible militarization of Ukraine, which implies unpredictable consequences for regional and international security," the Post quoted Russia saying.
It was not clear whether western allies have also received similar diplomatic messages but Russia recently stated it would treat arms shipments to Ukraine from NATO countries as “legitimate targets.”
The Greek government has already sent to Ukraine two C-130 transport aircraft loaded with military aid, such as Kalashnikov rifles and portable rocket launchers.
But Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky, who recently addressed both parliaments in Athens and Nicosia on the same day, has been asking for additional support.
Cyprus has not ruled out sending weapons through US
The Cypriot Defense Ministry has not ruled out shipments to Ukraine, including Russia-made S300 missiles bought by Nicosia and stationed on Crete after Turkey opposed their installation directly on the divided island.
But the government in Nicosia said any weapons would have to be handed over to the US and not directly to Kiev, provided that an American arms embargo on Greek Cypriots would be lifted entirely and western replacements could be secured in advance.
According to Kathimerini Cyprus, Washington has been sounding Nicosia out over possible shipments of the island's anti-aircraft umbrella including Tor M1 and Buk-M1-2 arrays as well as T-80U and BMP-3 tanks.