Russia's President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin Photo by: Reuters/SPUTNIK

The U.S. expects Russia to conduct air and naval military drills in the Caribbean in the coming weeks, CBS News reported. It comes amid heightened combative rhetoric from Moscow following the Biden administration's authorization for Ukraine to use U.S.-provided weaponry to attack targets within Russia, as well as stepped-up exercises with NATO allies.

A U.S. official clarified, however, that the drills have been planned for some time and are not likely to be a direct response to President Joe Biden partially lifting the mentioned ban to use its weaponry inside Russia. They are not considered as a direct threat to the U.S. either, the official added.

Russian ships are expected to make port calls in Cuba and perhaps Venezuela. The drills will extend throughout the summer and culminate in a worldwide drill in the fall.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on Wednesday that the country could provide long-range weapons to others who intend to strike Western targets as a result of the U.S. and NATO's lifting of the ban.

"If they consider it possible to deliver such weapons to the combat zone to launch strikes on our territory and create problems for us, why don't we have the right to supply weapons of the same type to some regions of the world where they can be used to launch strikes on sensitive facilities of the countries that do it to Russia?" he said.

Speaking to foreign journalists, he said that the mentioned actions could lead to "very serious problems" as it would "mark their direct involvement in the war against the Russian Federation." "We reserve the right to act the same way," he added. He also reiterated his willingness to use nuclear weapons if he sees a threat to Russian sovereignty.

Authorities have confirmed that Ukraine has already used U.S.-provided weapons to strike inside Russia. It has been done so within the guidance issued, so far limited to defending Kharkiv, Ukraine's second city and which has been under a renewed assault by Russian troops.

Russian strikes that hit a hardware superstore in the city the prior weekend killed 16 people. Another one last week killed three.

The Pentagon, meanwhile, released a new report last Wednesday citing debris analysis to confirm long-standing allegations that North Korea has been supplying Russia with weapons for use in Ukraine.

South Korea has accused Pyongyang of sending thousands of containers of munitions to Russia, which would violate rafts of UN sanctions on both countries.

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