Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Monday that Ukraine risks provoking World War III and said the threat of a nuclear conflict “should not be underestimated.”
In an in-depth Russian TV interview, Lavrov blamed Ukraine for stalled talks between the two countries, and accused the United States and Britain of pressuring Kyiv not to reach agreement.
“Everyone is reciting incantations that in no case can we allow World War III,” Lavrov said, and accused Ukrainian leaders of provoking Russia by asking NATO to become involved in the conflict.
By providing weapons, NATO forces are “pouring oil on the fire,” he said, according to a Russian transcript on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website.
Lavrov apparently made the remarks after U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the United States wants “to see Russia weakened to the point where it can’t do things like invade Ukraine.”
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told The Associated Press in an interview Monday that only discussions between Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin would bring resolution.
NEAR THE POLISH-UKRAINIAN BORDER — After a secrecy-shrouded visit to Ukraine’s capital, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says Russia is failing in its war aims and “Ukraine is succeeding.”
The trip by Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was the highest-level American visit to Kyiv since Russia invaded in late February.
Blinken and Austin told Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy and his advisers the U.S. would provide more than $300 million in foreign military financing and had approved a $165 million sale of ammunition.
Ukraine’s foreign minister praises the visit by Blinken and Lloyd. President Joe Biden also has announced his nomination of veteran diplomat Bridget Brink to serve as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
Brink is a career foreign service officer who has spent decades working in the shadow of the former Soviet Union, starting in Serbia. Her nomination comes after a long delay.
The U.S. hasn’t had a permanent ambassador to Ukraine since Marie Yovanovitch was forced out by President Donald Trump in 2019, and Biden was slow to name his own nominee.
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s foreign minister on Monday urged the U.N. chief to press Russia for an evacuation of the besieged port of Mariupol, calling it something the world body is capable of achieving.
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told The Associated Press in an interview he was concerned that by visiting Moscow on Tuesday before traveling to Kyiv, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres could be vulnerable to falling into a Kremlin “trap” in the war.
Kuleba said Guterres “should focus primarily on one issue: evacuation of Mariupol.
An estimated 100,000 people are trapped in the seaside city while a contingent of Ukrainian fighters hold out against Russian forces in a steel mill where hundreds of civilians also are taking shelter.
MARIUPOL, Ukraine — Officials in the embattled Ukrainian city of Mariupol say a new mass grave has been identified north of the city.
Mayor Vadym Boychenko said authorities are trying to estimate the number of victims in the grave about 10 kilometers (about 6 miles) north of Mariupol.
Satellite photos released over the past several days have shown what appear to be images of other mass graves.
Mariupol has been decimated by fierce fighting over the past two months. The capture of the city would deprive Ukraine of a vital port and allow Moscow to establish a land corridor to the Crimean Peninsula, which it seized from Ukraine in 2014.