Russia says Ukraine war could go nuclear if West keeps sending weapons
Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine — Russia’s Foreign Minister said Tuesday that if the U.S. and Ukraine‘s other Western allies continue to arm the country as it battles Moscow’s invading forces, the risk of the war escalating into a nuclear conflict “should not be underestimated.” Russian TV interviewer Sergey Lavrov stated that NATO countries were “pouring oil on a fire” and threatening “World War III” by providing weapons. “
He said the ongoing arms shipments to Ukraine meant NATO was “in essence engaged in war with Russia” already.
The veteran Kremlin diplomat issued his latest warning as U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met in Germany with NATO allies, urging European nations to increase their military aid to Ukraine. Germany’s defense chief announced Tuesday that the country would start sending self-propelled armored anti-aircraft guns to Ukraine.
Foreign solidarity with Ukraine has only grown over the course of Putin’s unprovoked two-month assault, now focused largely on Ukraine’s east. It continues to kill innocent civilians, despite Russian officials insisting that they are only attacking military infrastructure.
Overnight, the Defense Ministry in Moscow said it had hit about 90 more “military” targets in Ukraine, including rail facilities around the battered northeast city of Kharkiv that are vital to Ukrainian supply chains — including the ingress of foreign weapons.
Despite Russia’s overwhelming firepower advantage, Austin said before his meeting at Ramstein Air Base in Germany that Ukraine could win the war, if it has the “right equipment. “
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba dismissed Lavrov’s remarks about nuclear war as an indication that Moscow already “senses defeat in Ukraine. “
But in Ukraine’s east, the fight is far from over. According to CBS News senior foreign correspondent Charlie D’Agata, there has been no rest for Kharkiv’s remaining residents or firefighters. Russia said its latest strikes killed 500 Ukrainian troops. Although this cannot be independently verified, it is clear that the front-line fighting has intensified.
Ukraine’s second largest city had been among the hardest hit this week as Russia increases its onslaught along a 300-mile front line in the east.
Some of those who’ve escaped the fighting have taken shelter in a shopping center in the city of Zaporizhzhia. It’s hard to imagine a country at war. You can find fabric softener in one aisle and a refugee tent in another. A cafe has been converted into an emergency room.
D’Agata met Fedor Zubkov, 36, at the mall, taking shelter after losing his wife to Russian shelling.
“We started dating when we were 15 years old,” he said. “She was my first love. “
Zubkov is struggling to cope mentally. He claimed that his village near Zaporizhzhia had been attacked by Russian invaders on the first day.
“Over two days, they killed all those in the territorial defense unit and they destroyed the city center,” he told CBS News. “The missile also killed my wife and her younger sister. I was told to go the hospital, but then people said to me, “You don’t have to go now.” I asked them, “What do you mean?” They said she was dead. I was unable to bury her. Two days later, corpses were left on the streets of our town. The Russians wouldn’t allow us to bury them.
He said Russian-allied forces held him captive for two days, “handcuffed, and they were pointing the gun at me and said: ‘We’ll shoot you now!’
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