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Geopolitics

Lavrov’s World War III Warning And Veiled Nuclear Threats

The Russian foreign minister's words come after U.S. officials say they believe Ukraine can win the war, and aim for a "weakened" Russia in the future.

Photo of two men through a bullet hole on a window in Ukraine

Two men are seen through a bullet hole on a window of a supermarket in Saltivka, Kharkiv Oblast, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Over the past 24 hours, the war of words between Washington and Moscow has escalated significantly. After U.S. Defense Secretary Llyod Austin said that seeing Russia not just defeated by Ukraine, but “weakened” by the war, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov responded with an explicit warning that U.S. actions could lead to “World War III,” with veiled references to possible nuclear attacks.

Lavrov told Russia’s Channel One television network early Tuesday that the risks of nuclear conflict “are really very, very significant, I would not like these risks to be artificially inflated, and there are many who want them. The danger is serious, it is real, it cannot be underestimated,” Lavrov said.

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Comparing the current situation with the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, Lavrov noted that there used to be a channel of communication "which was trusted by both leaders," but now "there is no such channel, and no one is trying to create it. Then there were few written rules, but the rules of conduct were quite clear. Moscow understood how Washington was behaving, Washington understood how Moscow was behaving. And now there are few of those rules.”

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