Russia says possessing nuclear weapons sole response to external threats
Foreign Minister Lavrov speaks to The International Affairs magazine on nuclear deterrence, Ukraine war, Russia-Africa relations
By Aliia Raimbekova
MOSCOW (AA) – Possession of nuclear weapons protects Russia from security threats, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.
"Possessing nuclear weapons is for today the only possible response to certain significant external national security threats. The developments in and around Ukraine have confirmed that our concerns are well-grounded," Lavrov said in an interview to The International Affairs magazine, published on the Foreign Ministry website on Saturday.
He said Moscow's nuclear deterrence policy is strictly defensive to ensure sovereignty, territorial integrity and prevent aggression against Russia and its allies.
Lavrov said the US and NATO countries run the risk of becoming involved in a direct armed clash between nuclear powers. "We think that this course of events can and must be prevented," he added.
The top diplomat stressed that Russia is "fully committed" to the principle that a nuclear war is "unacceptable" and that "there can be no winners in such a war and therefore, it must never be fought."
Accusing the West of wanting "to do away" with a "serious geopolitical rival," Lavrov said Washington and Brussels have "unleashed a hybrid war against us."
The US, EU, and NATO countries are Ukraine’s top supporters and the largest providers of military aid in its war against Russia.
He claimed Kyiv has received over $160 billion in foreign aid during the first year of the "special military operation," including $75 billion in military aid.
He said Ukraine depends almost entirely on the Western financial allocations and arms deliveries, adding that "future looks rather grim for the Kyiv authorities and their patrons."
Lavvov said Russia will use "all means to defend its people and its vital interests," advised opponents to understand that confrontation is "futile" and urged political and diplomatic means to achieve a "balance of interests."
Asked about the end to Ukraine war, which started in February 2022, the Russian minister said "Ukraine is a puppet of the Americans," and the US "has no intention of ending the conflict" and wants to weaken Russia "as much as possible militarily, economically and politically."
Referring to recent peace meetings in Jeddah and Copenhagen, he said initiatives to end the war without Russian representation "hardly" demonstrate an intention by the West to negotiate with Russia.
About Russia's relations with Africa, the top diplomat said the second Russia-Africa summit held in July in St. Petersburg "confirmed Moscow and the African countries’ strong commitment to continuing cooperation and expanding partnership relations."
*Writing by Merve Berker in Ankara
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