Russia's foreign minister says nuclear war 'not in the heads' of Russians and accused Western leaders of stoking fear

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov gestures during a press conference following talks with his Italian counterpart in Moscow, on February 17, 2022.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov gestures during a press conference following talks with his Italian counterpart in Moscow, on February 17, 2022.Photo by SHAMIL ZHUMATOV/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
  • Russia's foreign minister on Thursday told reporters that nuclear war is "not in the heads" of Russians.

  • He accused the West of stoking fear after Putin put Russia's nuclear deterrent forces on alert.

  • "We're not going to allow some provocations to unbalance us," he said.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday lashed out at Western leaders and claimed they, not Moscow, are stoking the fears of a nuclear war.

"I would like to point out that these are statements of the Western politicians, they are repeating nuclear war," Lavrov said during a news conference with state-run and foreign media.

He added: "This is not in the heads of the Russians, and I'd like to say that we're not going to allow some provocations to unbalance us."

But, he said, "If they begin a real war against us, then they need to think carefully."

Lavrov's remarks were prompted by questions regarding Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision last weekend to put the country's nuclear deterrent forces on alert, just days after he ordered troops to attack Ukraine.

Putin said he blamed the move on what he deemed as aggressive statements from NATO and the West, which were in the midst of introducing sweeping sanctions on Russia and condemning its aggression.

Lavrov's remarks on Thursday are the latest in a larger trend of Russia accusing the US of creating hysteria regarding its presence in and around Ukraine.

Russia's February 24 attack on Ukraine came nearly a week after its foreign ministry laughed off Western leaders warning of an imminent invasion.

American intelligence officials, NATO leaders, and other Western allies, for weeks, warned that a Russian invasion of Ukraine was imminent — which Moscow repeatedly denied. Meanwhile, it continued to gather large amounts of troops and equipment along its border with Ukraine.

In January, Lavrov refuted the idea that Russia would invade Ukraine, and said Russia is not pursuing war.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

Read the original article on Business Insider