Ukraine update: Kremlin foreign minister says US at risk for ‘direct confrontation’ with Russia

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News


A top Kremlin official said the U.S. risks a “direct confrontation” with Russia over its involvement in the war in Ukraine and threatened to forgo a renewal of an arms control treaty set to expire in 2026.

Newsweek reported Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov made the remarks during an interview Saturday with the RIA news agency which followed the Biden administration’s announcement last week that it would send Ukraine 31 high-tech Abrams tanks. 

Asked about the possibility of resuming inspections under the new START treaty, given tensions between Moscow and Washington over the war, Ryabkov said the treaty’s principles of “mutual trust” and security principles have been “violated in the most rough and cynical way by American actions at resolving the so-called ‘Russian question’ through aggressive containment” and that the U.S., NATO and Russia are now “on the verge of a direct collision.” He added that there is a “very possible scenario” that an arms control treaty with the U.S. will cease to exist after 2026.

“We are ready for such a scenario,” he said, adding that ending the treaty “is not our choice” and that “it would be optimal to move on a different path.”

Ryabko also noted that the U.S. decision to supply Ukraine with Abrams tanks was “an extremely destructive step” that marked a “pronounced escalation” in Ukraine.

“Paradoxically, U.S. officials are arguing that delivering a wider range of increasingly advanced systems, including heavy systems to Ukraine, is not an escalation,” he said.

Though Ryabko specifically referenced the combat tanks, his remarks also came on the heels of a report made on Friday that Maryland-based aerospace and defensive arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin was ramping up production of its F-16 fighter jets, citing “conversations” between the U.S. and other nations about supplying them to Kyiv. The report gained further traction on Saturday, when Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak told online video channel Freedom that Kyiv and its allies are involved in “fast-track” talks on the possibility of supplying Ukraine with military aircraft and long-range missiles.

Podolyak said that Ukraine’s supporters “understand how the war is developing,” including its urgent need to gain air superiority over Russia, whose forces continue to launch crippling missile strikes on Ukrainian energy and infrastructure. Podolyak conceded, however, that some of Kyiv’s partners continue to hold to a “conservative” approach to weapons deliveries “due to fear of changes in the international architecture.” 

“We need to work with this. We must show (our partners) the real picture of this war,” Podolyak said, without naming specific countries. “We must speak reasonably and tell them, for example, ‘This and this will reduce fatalities, this will reduce the burden on infrastructure. This will reduce security threats to the European continent, this will keep the war localized.’ And we are doing it.”

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Friday declared that some Western countries providing weapons and money to Ukraine have “drifted” into becoming active participants in the conflict, which is fast-approaching the one-year mark. Orban has steadfastly refused to send weapons to Ukraine, with which it shares a border, and previously tried to block EU funds earmarked for military aid.

Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko accused Orban of referring to Ukraine as “a no-man’s land” and comparing it to Afghanistan.

“Such statements are completely unacceptable. Budapest continues on its course to deliberately destroy Ukrainian-Hungarian relations,” Nikolenko wrote in a Facebook post.

Meanwhile, days after Berlin reluctantly agreed to send Kyiv 14 of its Leopard 2 tanks and allow other allies to send in their own stocks of Leopards, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made clear that he drew the line at supplying Ukraine with fighter jets. Scholz made the remarks in an interview with the Tagesspiegel newspaper published on Sunday, Euronews reported.

“The question of fighter planes does not even arise. I can only advise against get[ting] into a constant bidding war when it comes to weapon systems,” Scholz said.

“As soon as a decision (on the tanks) is taken, a new debate starts in Germany … that is not serious and undermines the confidence of the citizens in the decisions of the government,” he added.


A Russian missile struck an apartment building in Kharkiv Sunday, killing one person and injuring at least three, regional governor Oleh Synehubov said, according to a Reuters report.

“Three people were slightly injured. Unfortunately, an elderly woman was killed,” Synehubov wrote on Telegram. “Her husband was nearby when the strike occurred and by a miracle suffered no serious injuries.”

Synehubov told Ukrainian broadcaster Suspilne that rescue teams were searching for another missing elderly woman among the rubble left by the impact.