US, Russia on 'Dangerous Edge' of War, Putin Ally Warns

US, Russia on ‘Dangerous Edge’ of War, Putin Ally Warns

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday warned that the United States and other Western nations are “balancing on the dangerous edge” of a direct conflict with Russia.

Lavrov, longtime close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, made the comment during a video address to participants in the Moscow Non-Proliferation Conference.

The United States and Russia continue to be at odds over Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which was launched in February 2022. On Saturday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved more than $60 billion in aid to Ukraine after the assistance for Kyiv stalled in Congress for months due to Republican infighting. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov reacted to the news of the aid package’s approval by warning it would lead to the “deaths of even more Ukrainians.”

Speaking to the Moscow conference, Lavrov said America’s stance in the Ukraine war could ultimately push nuclear powers into a conflict with “catastrophic consequences.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is pictured during a meeting in Moscow on March 6. On Monday, Lavrov warned the U.S. and its allies about the potential of “a direct military confrontation between nuclear powers.”

Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu via Getty Images
The Kremlin official began his remarks by saying the world faces a “difficult situation of crisis in the system of arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation, which reflects unprecedented degradation in the sphere of international security.”

He then placed the blame on the U.S. and its allies, saying these nations “are still dreaming of inflicting a ‘strategic defeat’ on Russia and are ready to carry on with their policy of deterring our country ‘to the last Ukrainian.'”

“At the same time, the West is balancing on the dangerous edge of a direct military confrontation between nuclear powers, which could have catastrophic consequences,” Lavrov continued. “We are especially concerned that the three Western nuclear powers [U.S., United Kingdom and France] are among the main sponsors of the criminal Kyiv regime and the main organizers of various provocations. This could create serious strategic risks and increase the level of nuclear threat.”

When reached for comment, a representative from the U.S. Department of State told Newsweek, “We have been clear: The U.S. does not seek confrontation with Russia.”

“Our focus has been, and continues to be, on supporting Ukraine in their defense from Russia’s unprovoked and illegal invasion,” the representative added. “And let’s not forget that Russia could end the conflict today by withdrawing its forces and ceasing its attacks on Ukraine.”

Newsweek also reached out to the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs via email on Monday for comment.

According to data from the Arms Control Association, the U.S. and Russia hold around 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons. In 2023, Russia ended its participation in New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), which had been the last remaining nuclear agreement between the U.S. and Russia aimed at limiting nuclear stockpiles. The Kremlin said America’s support for Ukraine was among the principal reasons for the abandonment of the treaty.

Lavrov said Russia still sees “no basis whatsoever for an arms control and strategic stability dialogue with the United States in the face of a total hybrid war being waged against our country.”

The Russian foreign minister’s comments came on the same day that Polish President Andrzej Duda revealed he had discussed hosting American nukes on his country’s territory.

“If our allies decide to deploy nuclear weapons as part of nuclear sharing also on our territory to strengthen the security of NATO’s eastern flank, we are ready for it,” Duda told Polish newspaper Fakt.

Peskov responded to Duda’s remarks by saying Russia’s military “would take all necessary countermeasures to ensure our security” if such a move occurred.

Update 04/22/24 4:35 p.m. ET: This story has been updated to include comment from the U.S. Department of State.

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