Jan 28, 2022 11:04 UTC
  • Russia says not after war, Ukraine hails 'constructive talks'

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Russia does not want war with Ukraine, dismissing US claims of an imminent conflict and assuring that there will be no war.

His remarks at a news conference in Moscow Friday came a day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the outcome of talks between senior Russian and Ukrainian officials in Paris earlier this week.

Envoys from Moscow and Kyiv on Wednesday agreed after talks that all parties should observe a ceasefire in the east of Ukraine where government forces have been battling pro-Russia separatists since 2014.

Zelensky "positively assesses the fact of the meeting, its constructive nature, as well as the intention to continue meaningful negotiations in two weeks in Berlin", his press service said in a statement.

On Tuesday, Ukraine's leaders also reassured the nation that a war was not imminent after US President Joe Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin “continues to build forces along Ukraine’s border” in preparation for "the largest invasion since World War II".

"It would change the world,” he told reporters in a speech more akin to a cataclysmic prophecy.  

Russia warns of NATO nuclear threat

Russia’s top arms control official said on Thursday that the US-led NATO is developing the capacity for devastating nuclear strikes against the country by training and arming the member states.

Vladimir Yermakov, director of the Department of Arms Control and Nonproliferation in the Russian Foreign Ministry, said the US was in the process of modernizing its atomic capabilities in Europe and had deployed missiles in the territories of several other member states.

“According to expert analysis, there are five non-nuclear NATO countries holding around 200 American B61 nuclear bombs,” Yermakov said.

“There is also the infrastructure to support the operational deployment of these weapons, which are capable of reaching Russian territory and striking a wide range of locations, including strategic ones.”

Yermakov said the withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from Europe is one of Moscow’s primary goals in ongoing security negotiations.