Following on the heels of the Biden administration announcing it would send longer range rocket systems to Ukraine, the Kremlin has issued a veiled threat that if it’s territory is hit it could strike back directly at the West.

“One of President Putin’s closest allies has warned that Moscow could target western cities if Ukraine uses rocket systems supplied by the United States to carry out strikes on Russian territory,” the UK Times is reporting. The dire warning was given by close top Putin ally and former president Dmitry Medvedev, who currently serves as the Russian security council deputy chairman. 

Illustrative image via AP

“If, God forbid, these weapons are used against Russian territory then our armed forces will have no other choice but to strike decision-making centers,” Medvedev warned in the new statements.

That’s when he suggested the following for the first time, marking a severe escalation of rhetoric:

“Of course, it needs to be understood that the final decision-making centers in this case, unfortunately, are not located on the territory of Kyiv” – with the suggesting being that those Western capitals supplying the advanced arms could come under attack in response.

Previously Russia has threatened to hit “decision-making centers” within Ukraine, such as Kiev and Lviv. These cities have been targeted on occasion, but rarely, throughout the war now in its fourth month.

The US confirmed this past week that Ukraine would receive M142 high-mobility artillery rocket systems, which are medium-ranged, capable of striking targets some 50 miles away.

President Biden on Tuesday stressed that “we’re not going to send to Ukraine rocket systems that strike into Russia” – which the Kremlin acknowledged as a “rational” decision, while stilling condemning the transfer of the systems.

Ukraine’s government, meanwhile, has reportedly given Washington “assurances” that it will not uses US-supplied weaponry to target Russian territory, which Moscow has long made clear would mark severe violation of its ‘red lines’.

This as Yahoo News UK has noted that “The West has been increasingly willing to give Ukraine longer-range weaponry, including M777 howitzers, as its forces battle Russians with more success than intelligence officials had predicted.”

Likely these fresh warnings from Medvedev serve to further warn and enforce over Russia’s red line. While the longer range MLRS missiles are apparently off the table for now, which can reach up to 190 miles away, the shorter-range MLRS systems could easily be updated with the larger, more advanced and longer range systems.

On the sanctions and economic war front, Poland officials have on Saturday said the next, seventh round of anti-Russia sanctions are currently being readied – suggesting that for the time being the ongoing Russian-NATO/EU standoff will only escalate further. Negotiations are at the same time stalled completely, and diplomatic openings and communications are fewer and fewer, making the situation even more dangerous.