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Russia says risk of nuclear war with US at level unprecedented in decades

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has raised the alarm about an escalated risk of nuclear war with the United States, unprecedented in decades.

The probability of a nuclear conflict between Russia and the US is at its highest level in decades, Russian news agencies reported Ryabkov as saying on Wednesday.

Ryabkov also said there could be no talk of secret or open negotiations with Washington on restoring the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty, which Russia pulled out of in February.

What's Next", Ryabkov said there was "no question" of Russia restoring the treaty for now, and denounced Washington's "hostile course" towards Moscow.

"I wouldn't want to dive into a discussion about whether the likelihood of a nuclear conflict is high today, but it is higher than anything we have had for the past few decades, let's put it that way," the Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.

Ryabkov said Russia was committed to keeping the world "safe and free" from the threat of nuclear war, but added later that business could not continue as usual, given that Moscow was now "in a de facto state of open conflict with the United States".

According to the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty, which had been signed in 2010 and extended until 2026, Russia and the United States were obliged to deploy no more than 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads, which account for 90 percent of the world's nuclear warheads, and a maximum of 700 long-range missiles and bombers. 

Holding the United States responsible for breaching the agreement, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow was forced to withdraw.

Earlier this month, an American Democratic politician said “intellectually bankrupt” politicians of the United States have made nuclear war with Russia a realistic possibility.

Kentucky Democratic gubernatorial candidate Geoff Young told Russia Today on March 4 that the electorate he has spoken to in his state are “sick of” seeing their tax dollars go to Ukraine. However, American politicians, he said, are “separated from reality.”

He said that “humanity is threatened by a possible nuclear war," between the US and Russia. 

Lavrov: UK is sending depleted uranium shells to Ukraine 

In related news on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov censured Britain over its recent decision to supply Ukraine with munitions made with depleted uranium.

Lavrov criticized some Western officials for dismissing the potential threats of depleted uranium shells.

He warned that Britain's decision in this regard will take the Ukraine situation to a new and more dangerous level.

The top Russian diplomat said there was a spike in dangerous diseases in Yugoslavia and Iraq after NATO forces used such weapons there.

On Monday, London announced plans to supply Ukrainian forces with ammunition equipped with depleted uranium. The ammo could help weapons penetrate tanks and armor more easily.

In the meantime, Britain's Foreign Secretary James Cleverly on Wednesday attempted to downplay Britain's move, claiming there is no nuclear escalation in the Ukraine war.

"There is no nuclear escalation. The only country in the world that is talking about nuclear issues is Russia. There is no threat to Russia, this is purely about helping Ukraine defend itself," Cleverly said.

Following the announcement, the Kremlin warned of a nuclear collision between Russia and the West if the UK goes ahead with the decision. The British government, however, has defended the plan, downplaying a potential nuclear escalation in the Russia-Ukraine war.

Earlier, President Putin condemned the British over their decision to send Kiev forces tank ammunition that contained depleted uranium, saying Moscow would be forced to respond accordingly.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu also warned there were fewer steps left before there would be a potential "nuclear collision" between Russia and the West, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported.

Despite Moscow's warnings, after the Russians launched their special military operation in eastern Ukraine in February 2022, Western countries began to supply Kiev forces with a wide range of deadly military hardware, including tens of billions of dollars worth of weapons and ammunition.

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