Russia warns ‘serious’ nuclear war risks should not be underestimated

  • Russia warns US against arming Ukraine
  • US considering ammunition for howitzers, tanks and grenade launchers
  • UK to send ambulances, fire engines and medical supplies

LVIV, Ukraine/kyiv, April 26 (Reuters) – Russia has told the world not to underestimate the huge risks of nuclear war it has said it wants to reduce and warned that Western conventional weapons are legitimate targets in Ukraine, where battles raged in the east.

“The risks are now considerable,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Russian state television according to a transcript of an interview on the ministry’s website.

“I wouldn’t want to artificially increase those risks. Many would like that. The danger is serious, real. And we shouldn’t underestimate it.”

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Lavrov had been asked about the importance of avoiding World War III and whether the current situation was comparable to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, a low point in US-Soviet relations.

Russia had lost its “last hope to dissuade the world from supporting Ukraine,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter after Lavrov’s interview. “It only means that Moscow feels defeat.”

During a visit to Kyiv, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin pledged more military aid to Ukraine.

But Moscow’s ambassador to Washington told the United States to stop deliveries, warning that Western weapons were fueling the conflict. Read more

Lavrov said, “NATO, in essence, is engaged in a war with Russia through a proxy and is arming that proxy. War means war.”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine two months ago, the biggest attack on a European state since 1945, left thousands dead or injured, reduced cities to rubble and forced more than 5 million people to flee abroad.

Moscow calls its actions a “special operation” to disarm Ukraine and protect it from fascists. Ukraine and the West say this is a false pretext for an unprovoked war of aggression by President Vladimir Putin.

Russia has yet to capture any of the larger cities. His forces were forced to withdraw from the outskirts of Kyiv in the face of heavy resistance.

“It is obvious that every day – and especially today, when the third month of our resistance has begun – everyone in Ukraine is concerned about peace, about the end of everything,” President Volodymyr said on Monday. Zelenskiy.

“There is no simple answer to this at the moment.”

The US State Department used an emergency declaration on Monday to approve the potential sale of $165 million worth of munitions to Ukraine. The Pentagon said the package could include artillery ammunition for howitzers, tanks and grenade launchers. Read more

The United States is to host a gathering of more than 40 countries this week for Ukraine-related defense talks that will focus on arming kyiv, U.S. officials said.

Britain has said all tariffs on goods entering the country from Ukraine under an existing free trade agreement will be scrapped and it will send new ambulances, fire engines, medical supplies and funding for health experts to help emergency services.

Putin said on Monday that the West had failed to divide Russian society and accused him of inciting kyiv to plan attacks on Russian journalists, in comments dismissed by Ukraine’s security services.

Just weeks ago, the capital kyiv was a frontline city under curfew and shelling, with tens of thousands of troops in its northern outskirts and residents sheltering from artillery in its metro stations.

Today, the nearest Russian soldiers are hundreds of kilometers away and normal life is returning to the capital, with visiting Western leaders and returning diplomats.

Blinken said US diplomats would come to the western city of Lviv first and should be back in Kyiv within weeks. Bridget Brink, now US Ambassador to Slovakia, will be the envoy. Read more

But far from the capital, war is raging in eastern and southern Ukraine where Russia launched a massive offensive last week.

The Russian Defense Ministry said its missiles destroyed six facilities supplying railways used to deliver foreign weapons to Ukrainian forces in the eastern Donbass region. Reuters could not verify the report. Read more

Russian forces continued shelling and shelling the sprawling Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol on Monday where fighters are entrenched in a city ravaged by siege and shelling, Ukrainian presidential aide Oleksiy Arestovych said.

Moscow said it was opening a humanitarian corridor to let civilians out of the factory, but kyiv said no deal had been reached and called on the United Nations to help find one as a ‘”initiator and guarantor”. Read more

The Russian Defense Ministry said Ukraine undermined evacuation efforts and no one left the steel mill through humanitarian corridors on Monday.

Russian Deputy Ambassador to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy told reporters that a ceasefire was not a good option and would only allow Ukrainian forces to regroup, even if it was not his decision.

Ukraine’s general staff also reported Russian shelling of its second-largest city, Kharkiv, in the northeast as well as towns and villages to the south, but said assaults on three settlements had been repelled.

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Additional reporting by Reuters reporters; written by Costas Pitas; edited by Cynthia Osterman and Rosalba O’Brien

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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