Russia on Monday warned the Ukraine conflict risked escalating into a third world war and accused Kyiv of playing at peace talks a day after visiting US officials said Ukrainian forces could beat back Moscow s invasion.
The conflict has triggered an outburst of support from Western nations that has seen weapons pour into Ukraine to help them wage war against Russian troops.
Speaking to Russian news agencies, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticised Kyiv s approach to floundering peace talks, saying the risk of a World War III “is serious”.
“It is real, you can t underestimate it.”
While he said talks with Kyiv would continue, Lavrov accused Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky of “pretending” to negotiate, adding: “You ll find a thousand contradictions.”
For months, Zelensky has been asking Ukraine s western allies for heavy weapons — including artillery and fighter jets — vowing his forces could turn the tide of the war with more firepower.
The calls appear to be resonating now, with a host of NATO countries pledging to provide a range of heavy weapons and equipment, despite protests from Moscow.
“The first step in winning is believing that you can win,” Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin told a group of journalists after he and Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Zelensky in Kyiv.
“We believe that we can win — they can win — if they have the right equipment, the right support.”
The highly sensitive US trip by two of President Joe Biden s top cabinet members came as fighting continued across Ukraine, casting a long shadow over Easter celebrations in the largely Orthodox country.