Russia Threatens Nuclear War If Allies Keep Sending Ukraine Weapons

By Jason Hall

April 26, 2022

Destruction in Bucha after withdrawal of Russian troops
Photo: Getty Images

Russia's foreign minister threatened a potential nuclear war if the United States and Ukraine's other western allies continue to provide weapons in an effort to combat Russia's invasion.

During an interview with Russian TV on Tuesday (April 26), Sergey Lavrov said the risk of war escalating to a nuclear conflict "should not be underestimated" and that NATO nations providing weapons to Ukraine were "pouring oil on the fire" and risking "World War III," CBS News reports.

Lavrov's statement comes hours after U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced more military aid to Ukraine in an effort to degrade Russia's military capabilities.

“We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine,” Austin said Monday (April 25) during the United States' highest-level visit to Ukraine since Russia's invasion was launched on February 24, via the Wall Street Journal. "Russia is falling, Ukraine is succeeding."

Additionally, Germany's defense chief announced Tuesday that the country would begin sending self-propelled armored anti-aircraft weapons to Ukraine in an effort to help its defense against Russia.

In response to allies providing heavy weapons to Ukraine on the front lines, Russia struck several Ukrainian railway hubs with missile strikes on Monday, which had followed missile attacks one day prior in Poltava that included striking an electricity plant and fuel refinery.

The strikes came hours after Austin and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that Washington planned to reopen its embassy in Kyiv and provide $322 million in foreign military assistance to help Ukraine combat Russia's attacks.

Russian state media reported large fires also broke out at fuel-storage facilities containing around 15,000 tons of fuel in the Russian region of Bryansk on Monday, noting that the incidents were under investigation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his country would conduct military operations in Eastern Ukraine during an NBC News translation of a speech addressing the Russian population in Moscow on February 24.

The announcement appeared to serve as the final action ahead of an attack by Putin and the Russian military, which the U.S. and European allies to the neighboring Ukraine have attempted to prevent from taking place through diplomatic discussions.

A Ukraine interior minister confirmed to NBC News via text message that "cruise and ballistic missile strikes" were already underway shortly after Putin's announcement.

NBC News correspondent Erin McLaughlin said explosions could be heard from her live shot in Kyiv, Ukraine's capital city, at 6:00 a.m. local time.

More than 1,000 protesters were reportedly arrested during anti-war protests throughout Russia amid President Putin's announcement to conduct military operations and ensuing attack on Ukraine, BNO News reported.

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