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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused NATO Monday night of escalating the war in Ukraine and warned of a “considerable” threat for a nuclear world war.
Lavrov said the West has escalated tensions by providing weapons to Ukraine as the Russian army continues its assault on the European country, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
“The risk is serious, real. It should not be underestimated,” Lavrov told Russian state-run TV. “Under no circumstances should a third world war be allowed to happen.”
Lavrov then mentioned the possibility of nuclear weapons being used. “[T]here can be no winners in a nuclear war,” he commented, while also stating Russia wants to avoid a nuclear war.
According to The Sun, Lavrov specifically mentioned NATO weapons shipments to Ukraine, saying they “would be a legitimate target” since they aid Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression.
“NATO, in essence, is engaged in a war with Russia through a proxy and is arming that proxy,” Lavrov accused. “War means war.”
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba responded to Lavrov’s words by claiming Russia fears their campaign against Ukraine is ending in failure.
He wrote in Twitter post Monday, “Russia loses last hope to scare the world off supporting Ukraine. Thus the talk of a ‘real’ danger of WWIII. This only means Moscow senses defeat in Ukraine. Therefore, the world must double down on supporting Ukraine so that we prevail and safeguard European and global security.”
Russia loses last hope to scare the world off supporting Ukraine. Thus the talk of a ‘real’ danger of WWIII. This only means Moscow senses defeat in Ukraine. Therefore, the world must double down on supporting Ukraine so that we prevail and safeguard European and global security.
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) April 25, 2022
Russia’s invasion began in the early hours of February 24, when President Vladimir Putin ordered “a special military operation” to demilitarize and “denazify” Ukraine. Soon after the order, explosions were heard near the Ukrainian city of Mariupol.
Two months into Russia’s invasion, Putin’s army has failed to overtake and control major cities such as Kharkiv in the east and the capital city Kyiv.
This is not the first time Russia has mentioned nuclear weapons while discussing the war in Ukraine. In late March, a spokesman for Putin did not rule out using nuclear weapons to take out an “existential threat,” The Daily Wire reported.
“We have a concept of domestic security, and it’s public. You can read all the reasons for nuclear arms to be used,” Dmitry Peskov said. “So if it is an existential threat for our country, then it can be used in accordance with our concept.”
Experts have also expressed concern over Russia possibly using nukes if it becomes clear its army will fail to take over Ukraine. “Russian military doctrine envisions use of nuclear weapons in a first use scenario if it is losing a conventional conflict. Ukraine is exactly the scenario for which this was developed,” Defense Intelligence Agency officer Rebekah Koffler said in March according to Fox News.