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26 Jan, 2024 14:24

Russia doesn’t want another ‘big war’ – Lavrov

The US is ratcheting up global tensions, dragging previously neutral states into NATO, the foreign minister has said
Russia doesn’t want another ‘big war’ – Lavrov

Russia does not want to enter into a “big war” and has no intention of attacking other countries, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said. He lamented that relations with the US are at rock bottom, and blamed Washington for the current state of affairs.

In recent weeks, senior officials in several European nations have been urging their citizens to prepare for a potential military confrontation with Russia. Moscow, however, has insisted that it has no interest in waging war against NATO.

Speaking at a Q&A session at the UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday, Lavrov said that despite growing escalation and bellicose rhetoric, “no one wants a big war,” including Russia. “We have lived through ‘big wars’ many times in our history,” he added.

According to Lavrov, the US bears responsibility for the heightened global tensions while accusing Russia of being a threat. He cited Finland’s accession to NATO last April and Sweden’s aspirations to join as examples of Washington “dragging neutral countries” into the US-led bloc.

He also accused the US of systematically destroying most of the de-escalation mechanisms that existed by withdrawing from a number of key arms control accords.

The foreign minister characterized Russian-US relations as being at a “low point,” with “practically no contacts” apart from discussions over the functioning of the two countries’ diplomatic missions.

Earlier this month, Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom called on his compatriots to prepare for a potential military conflict, amid rising tensions with Moscow. Last week, UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps predicted that a global conflict between the West and Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea would break out within five years.

Dutch Admiral Rob Bauer, the chair of the NATO Military Committee, has said the military bloc’s member states should ensure that their industries can be quickly put on a war footing and that there are mechanisms in place to arrange the mass mobilization of civilians in case of a large-scale conflict.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has also warned that while Germany is not currently under a direct threat of attack, it should start preparing by beefing up its military.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed these warnings as “nonsense,” saying Moscow has “no interest” in attacking any NATO nations.