fbpx mmnews

Russia warns risk of nuclear war as US pledges arms for Ukraine

Russia accused NATO of creating a serious risk of nuclear war. Source: Reuters.

MOSCOW: Russia accused NATO of creating a serious risk of nuclear war by arming Ukraine in a proxy battle as Washington and its allies met on Tuesday to pledge the heavy weapons Kyiv needs to achieve victory.

US officials have approved shipments of hundreds of millions of dollars in arms, including artillery and drones they held back from sending in earlier phases of the war.

“Nations from around the world stand united in our resolve to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s imperial aggression,” Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said, welcoming officials from more than 40 countries to Ramstein Air Base in Germany, headquarters of US air power in Europe. “Ukraine clearly believes that it can win, and so does everyone here.”

In a marked escalation of Russian rhetoric, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was asked about the prospect of World War Three and whether the current situation was comparable to the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis that nearly caused nuclear war.

“The danger is serious, real. And we must not underestimate it,” Lavrov said, according to the ministry’s transcript of the interview. “NATO, in essence, is engaged in a war with Russia through a proxy and is arming that proxy. War means war.”

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milleytold reporters the next several weeks in Ukraine would be “very, very critical”. “They need continued support in order to be successful on the battlefield. And that’s really the purpose of this conference.”

General Milley said said the aim would be to coordinate aid that includes heavy weapons such as howitzer artillery, as well as killer drones and ammunition.

READ MORE: Russia warns United States against providing more weapons to Ukraine

Austin, who visited Kyiv along with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday, said, “We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited Moscow on a peace mission, although Kyiv and Western countries said they doubted he could achieve much.

“We are extremely interested in finding ways in order to create the conditions for effective dialogue, create the conditions for a ceasefire as soon as possible, create the conditions for a peaceful solution”, Guterres said at a meeting with Lavrov, ahead of a meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

Ukraine’ Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said while a diplomatic breakthrough was unlikely, there was hope Guterres could help the humanitarian situation, especially around Mariupol, where Ukraine says hundreds of civilians are trapped with the city’s last defenders inside a blockaded steel works.

Kyiv and its allies played down Lavrov’s remarks about nuclear war. Russia had lost its “last hope to scare the world off supporting Ukraine,” Kuleba tweeted after Lavrov’s interview. “This only means Moscow senses defeat.”

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby decried what he called Lavrov’s “escalatory rhetoric”. Russia’s two-month-old invasion of Ukraine has left thousands dead or injured, reduced towns and cities to rubble, and forced more than 5 million people to flee abroad.


Comments: 0

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *