Russian President Vladimir Putin’s top diplomat says the United States poses an existential threat to Russia through its support for Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov used a press conference to condemn the U.S. and NATO while defending Russia’s bombing of Ukraine’s civil infrastructure.
Lavrov said the Russian assault on the Ukrainian power grid was aimed at cutting off the country’s supply of western arms, countering the view held by Kyiv and allies that knocking out heat and electricity for ordinary citizens was an attempt to break the national spirit.
Lavrov’s comments come hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said six million Ukrainians were about to face winter without power due to Russian airstrike campaigns.
Zelensky said power shortages were coming due to a two-month-long series of strikes on the power plant, substations, and transmission lines, among other key energy infrastructure.
Lavrov claimed the arms shipments along with the training of Ukrainian soldiers on western soil amounted to direct participation in the conflict by Nato, in particular the U.S.
He also said Kyiv was taking military orders from “Western masters.” Russian officials have said this since Putin first invaded Ukraine.
“We attack energy facilities that make it possible for the West to pump weapons into Ukraine,” Lavrov said.
On the prospect of a nuclear war breaking out, Lavrov said there was a very real possibility.
“The risk that a non-nuclear confrontation between nuclear powers will turn into a nuclear war is immense,” he said.
Lavrov returned to the original rhetoric around the invasion, discussing the establishment of NATO. Referring to the 1949 origins of NATO, he said the alliance’s first secretary general was determined to keep Russia out of Europe while enabling the U.S. to maintain a presence there.
Lavrov claimed the U.S. was in control of Europe after “enslaving” the continent.
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