MOSCOW (Dispatches) --
Relations between Moscow and Washington are on the edge of an open armed conflict, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has said.
“We are working to keep relations with the U.S. from falling into the abyss of an open armed conflict, we are already on the verge, on the edge of this abyss,” Ryabkov said on Thursday night in an interview with Russian Pervy TV channel.
Russia and the U.S. maintain contacts, and the problem is in the lack of trust, that Washington defies everything Moscow says as “disinformation,” he said.
The diplomat added that the U.S. “has long been a direct part to the Ukrainian conflict, waging an open hybrid war.”
“Ukraine is only a tool in their hands. ... Their goal is to destroy a sovereign, independent Russia as an international factor, they are increasingly tempted to play with the idea of dismemberment of Russia. ... This is a direct encroachment on the foundations of our state system,” he stressed.
Ryabkov also said Russia has many times explained the roots of the conflict in Ukraine, including the “destructive role that the U.S. played in events, preceding the 2014 coup in Kyiv” that led to eight years of civil war in Donbas, which no one, except Russia, wanted to solve with diplomatic means.
“And now, they are trying to pretend that they are only helping Kyiv in its kind of struggle, this is the height of cynicism and hypocrisy,” he said.
Ryabkov further claimed that it depends on Washington when Kyiv will stop fighting and get to the negotiating table, and that the U.S. is currently determined to inflict on Russia a “strategic defeat.”
“We see that the U.S. bets on further escalation and we warn them against it. ... We remind them that the risks have increased many times in recent months,” he stressed.
The diplomat said there is no “magic solution” for the Russia-U.S. difference, and that Moscow
is waiting for a response from Washington that will allow to make a consequence that its signals were heard.
Ryabkov said the U.S. reaction to Tuesday’s drone attacks on Kremlin is a “neglect of the basics of foreign policy,” adding that Washington’s attempts to show their non-involvement do not persuade anyone.
“I think that any sane person in any country will understand that we are talking about the fact that the U.S. continues its escalating course and uses its wards in Kyiv, its puppets there, to organize and carry out increasingly defiant and increasingly dangerous provocative actions,” he stressed.
The U.S. can deny its responsibility and involvement in the attack, but this “does not convince anyone,” Ryabkov noted.
As for Russia, it is ready to use all means to defend its security and leadership, he stressed.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday the alleged drone attack on the Kremlin could not have happened without Washington’s awareness and warned Russia would respond with “concrete actions”.
“It’s clear that without the knowledge of their minders, the terrorists from Kyiv could not have carried out (the attack),” Lavrov said during a visit to India, referring to Washington.
A drone attack on the Ilsky oil refinery in southern Russia, the second in as many days, has caused a fire, TASS news agency reported on Friday, citing emergency services.
Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency also reported that there were no casualties following Friday’s incident, while the fire had been put out.
It was not immediately clear who was behind the incident.
Ukrainian officials do not usually claim responsibility for such attacks inside Russia’s territory, although they sometimes celebrate them using euphemistic language.
A source at refinery told Reuters that an aerial cooler at the CDU-5 column, which has an annual capacity is 1.8 million tonnes, was hit. Another primary unit at the plant has capacity of 3.6 million tonnes per year.
That cooler could be replaced within a couple of weeks, though the impact is yet to be fully accessed, the source added.
The Ilsky refinery, near the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk in the Krasnodar region, has a processing capacity of around 6.6 million tonnes per year.