Moscow warns of NATO-Russia confrontation
NATO and Russia could go head-to-head in a full-blown clash, one of the country’s senior officials has warned, amid a growing standoff with the US and its allies in Europe over Moscow’s military attack against Ukraine.
Speaking as part of an appearance on Rossiya-24 TV channel on Wednesday, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko set out his view on whether there’s a threat of a direct conflict with the 30-state military bloc.
“Risks undoubtedly, arise. And, of course, we are extremely concerned about an arms supply program [to Ukraine],” he explained. “Everything in this situation is very dangerous.”
According to Grushko, “there are no guarantees that incidents will not occur,” and there are no assurances that they “may not also escalate in an absolutely unnecessary direction.”
However, if Moscow hears “NATO say that they have no plans or intentions, or at least some kind of display of rationality, this shows that there is still at least some common sense left in their actions,” he said.
The deputy FM’s remarks come as Russia’s armed forces wage an offensive against Ukraine after President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion last Thursday. It followed appeals from the leaders of the recently recognized breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics for assistance in what they believed was a sharp spike in “aggression” from Kiev. Putin insisted that the offensive aims to “demilitarize” and “denazify” the country.
In the wake of the incursion, members of the US-led military bloc have announced that they are “boosting their political and practical support to Ukraine,” noting that “thousands of anti-tank weapons, hundreds of air-defense missiles and thousands of small arms and ammunition stocks are being sent to” the Eastern European nation.
Moscow has long vocalized its concerns about NATO expansion towards its borders and has sought to obtain security guarantees, calling also for current members to desist from military activity on Ukraine’s territory, and for other demands to be met.