Speaking on Russian state television last night Lavrov accused western leaders of risking World War III by delivering heavy weaponry to Ukraine with the intention of "wearing down the Russian army," which he dismissed as an "illusion." However, Ukraine has described Russia's threat of nuclear war as a sign of weakness.
Russia Threatens the West
On Monday, Lavrov, while giving an interview on Russian state television, said that by supplying weapons to Ukraine, NATO is already fighting a proxy war against Russia and things could worsen if they continue doing so. This could lead to harsher consequences like the war turning nuclear.
Lavrov accused NATO and its partners of attempting to coerce Russia on the international stage, claiming that tensions between east and west are now worse than they were during the Cold War's Cuban missile crisis in 1962.
"The risks now are considerable," Lavrov said according to a transcript of the interview on the ministry's website.
When asked about the possibility of a nuclear war, Lavrov unhesitatingly said, "I would not want to elevate those risks artificially. Many would like that. The danger is serious, real. And we must not underestimate it."
"During the Cuban Missile Crisis there were not many 'written' rules. But the rules of conduct were clear enough. Moscow understood how Washington was behaving. Washington understood how Moscow was behaving. Now there are few rules left."
"In those years, there was a channel of communication that both leaders trusted. Now there is no such channel. Nobody is trying to create it," he added.
In the early days of the Ukraine conflict, the US established a 'deconfliction line' with Moscow, but the Russian side stopped responding, according to the United States. Lavrov also warned that shipments of western weapons into Ukraine would be deemed legitimate targets by Russia.
Russia in No Mood to Stop
Lavrov's warning comes a day after missiles were fired at Ukraine's train system in an apparent attempt to halt the delivery of weapons from NATO members.
Western nations have lately started supplying Ukraine with heavier weaponry such as tanks, helicopters, aircraft and long-range artillery. So long they were supplying small arms and defensive weapons such as anti-tank and anti-aricraft missiles.
The move comes in the wake of crimes committed by Putin's men in areas like Bucha and Irpin, for which Kyiv has been demanding heavier arms from the West so that they can recapture territories taken by Russian forces.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin offered greater military aid to Ukraine during a visit to Kyiv on Sunday.
The US State Department issued an emergency declaration on Monday to approve a potential $165 million munitions shipment to Ukraine. The package could include artillery ammunition for howitzers, tanks, and grenade launchers, according to the Pentagon.
However, the move hasn't been likened by Russia.
Ukraine on the other hand said that it doesn't feel threatened. Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine's foreign minister, described Russia's scaremongering as a sign of weakness. Russia had lost its "last hope to scare the world off supporting Ukraine," Kuleba wrote on Twitter after Lavrov's interview. "This only means Moscow senses defeat."
Russia's two-month invasion of Ukraine, the worst attack on a European country since 1945, has killed or injured thousands of people, leveled towns and cities, and caused nearly 5 million people to escape to other countries.