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Russia Issues Stark Warning: World on Brink of ‘Direct Military Clash’ Between Nuclear Powers

HomeWARRussia Issues Stark Warning: World on Brink of 'Direct Military Clash' Between...

Moscow (AP) – With bellicose language portending a dangerous new phase, Russia bluntly warned Monday it sees an increasingly real threat of direct military confrontation with the United States and its NATO allies over their military support for Ukraine. A potential nuclear powder keg is how one top Russian diplomat ominously characterized the situation.

In a blistering speech at a non-proliferation conference in Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused Western nations of “balancing on the brink” and said the risks of a direct clash of nuclear powers were rising. His alarming comments reflected mounting fury in the Kremlin over the historic $61 billion military and economic aid package for Ukraine that sailed through the U.S. House of Representatives just days ago.

“The U.S. and NATO policy of flooding Ukraine with weapons and ammunition is raising the odds of a direct military clash between nuclear powers with potentially catastrophic consequences,” Lavrov fumed. He alleged the U.S. was emboldening Ukraine to keep fighting by promising ever more potent arms transfers.

The incendiary rhetoric marked a sharp escalation in tone from Moscow as its invasion of Ukraine grinds through its second year with no end in sight. It also signaled Russia’s deepening sense of anxiety and perhaps desperation over Ukraine’s stiff resistance, which has denied the Kremlin the quick military victory it expected when launching its so-called “special military operation” on February 24, 2022.

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In Kyiv, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy offered profuse thanks to the U.S. Congress for approving the latest, and largest yet, tranche of assistance for his embattled nation. “This aid…will keep the war from expanding, save thousands of lives, and help both nations become stronger,” Zelenskyy declared. He implored the U.S. Senate to swiftly pass the House-backed bill as well.

Since repelling Russia’s failed initial assault to capture Kyiv and topple Ukraine’s government, Zelenskyy’s forces have relied heavily on a steady flow of Western weapons, ammunition, and other military support to stymie Russian advances. That aid, as Lavrov made clear, has become a radicalizing irritant poisoning already abysmal Russia-West relations.

Raising the specter of potential nuclear conflict, even indirectly, marked a new and unnerving escalation in Russian rhetoric and brinkmanship. U.S. officials have previously cautioned that miscalculation or overly aggressive Russian actions could spark a broader conflict between nuclear-armed rivals.

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On the battlefield, Ukrainian commanders have issued increasingly urgent pleas for enhanced air defense systems to counter a new burst of Russian missile and drone strikes targeting cities and infrastructure across the country. Some civilian areas hundreds of miles from the front lines have faced relentless bombardment in recent weeks that U.N. investigators describe as potential war crimes.

Zelenskyy’s forces are also burning through artillery shells and other ammunition at an unsustainable rate as they try to repel Russian advances in the eastern Donbas region. The prospect of Ukraine’s outgunned military running short on munitions has fueled fears Russia could capitalize on potential lulls to seize more territory.

That dynamic has intensified pressure on European allies that possess U.S.-made Patriot anti-missile batteries to transfer some of those highly-capable air defense systems to Ukraine. So far, Germany is the only nation to commit an additional Patriot unit, which could help shield Ukrainian civilians and critical infrastructure from Russia’s indiscriminate bombardment.

Meeting in Luxembourg on Monday, European Union defense ministers acknowledged the urgent need to bolster Ukraine’s air defenses but stopped short of concrete new Patriot pledges. Kyiv already operates some of the advanced U.S. missile batteries and has specifically requested more, citing their proven ability to counter ballistic missile threats.

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“We can celebrate the new U.S. aid for a day, but we must prepare for the battle to come tomorrow. There can be no letting up,” Lithuania’s foreign minister, Gabrielius Landsbergis, warned his EU counterparts.

With its outmanned forces struggling to hold ground, Moscow has embraced ever more scorched-earth tactics like systematically crippling Ukraine’s utilities and civic infrastructure through bombing campaigns. The Russian assault has taken a staggering civilian toll and prompted allegations of war crimes. But it has failed to break Ukrainian resolve or pull the battlefield trajectory back in Russia’s favor after over a year of attrition conflict.

Lavrov insisted Russia has no interest in a nuclear war but placed the blame for surging tensions squarely on U.S. and NATO efforts to militarily blunt the Kremlin’s Ukrainian campaign. “Our Western colleagues seem fully immersed in the upbeat mood of a nuclear powder keg,” he declared ominously.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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