Russia warns Ukraine war could spin out of control due to action of one or two NATO countries

By Thomson Reuters Mar 13, 2024 | 10:13 AM

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia warned on Wednesday that the war in Ukraine could spin out of control and expand geographically due to the ill-considered actions of one or two member states from the NATO military alliance.

The conflict has triggered the deepest crisis in Moscow’s relations with the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and Russia reacted angrily after French President Emmanuel Macron last month refused to rule out sending troops to Ukraine.

On Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin told the West that Russia was technically ready for nuclear war and that if the U.S. sent troops to Ukraine, it would be considered a significant escalation of the conflict.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters on Wednesday that the situation around Ukraine was becoming dangerous and that the risks were growing.

“As a result of the ill-considered provocative actions of even one or two EU or NATO member states, the Ukrainian crisis could absolutely go beyond its geographical borders, acquire a completely different scale and develop uncontrollably,” Zakharova told a news briefing.

Zakharova said Moscow believed the West was now walking “on the edge of the abyss” and pushing the world to the edge too with its actions over Ukraine.

“Accordingly, the question today is how to avoid the risks of further escalation. They are obvious and frightening to all sensible people,” Zakharova said, advising the West to give up on the idea of strategically defeating Russia and stop supporting Ukraine with money and weapons.

“The West will have to learn to reckon not only with its own geopolitical ambitions, but also with the legitimate interests of other countries,” Zakharova said.

“I am well aware that this will literally cause gnashing of teeth, but it will have to be done at some point, and the sooner it is done, the fewer people will die, and the fewer people, in principle, will suffer,” she said.

The West is grappling with how to support Kyiv against Russia, which now controls almost one-fifth of Ukrainian territory and is rearming much faster than the West and Ukraine.

Kyiv says it is defending itself against an imperial-style war of conquest designed to erase its national identity.

Russia says it sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in February 2022 in what it called a “special military operation” to bolster its own security against a hostile West and to defend the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine’s south-east.

(Reporting by Dmitry Antonov; Editing by Andrew Osborn)