LONDON, April 26 — British armed forces minister James Heappey said today he did not think there was an imminent threat of escalation in the war in Ukraine, dismissing comments by Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov as bravado.
Earlier Lavrov told the world not to underestimate the considerable risks of nuclear conflict, and said Nato’s supply of weapons to Ukraine “in essence” meant that the Western alliance was engaged in a proxy war with Russia.
“Lavrov’s trademark over the course of 15 years or so that he has been the Russian foreign secretary has been that sort of bravado. I don’t think that right now there is an imminent threat of escalation,” Heappey told BBC Television.
“What the West is doing to support its allies in Ukraine is very well calibrated … Everything we do is calibrated to avoid direct confrontation with Russia.”
Heappey told Sky News that while Nato had been reinforcing its eastern flank, it was not, as an organisation, providing military aid.
“The donor community is not Nato,” Heappey said. “The donor effort is something that has been brought together by countries that are yes, many of them are from Nato, but others are from beyond … it is not Nato that is doing the military aid.”
Moscow calls its actions a “special operation” to disarm Ukraine and protect it from fascists. Ukraine and the West says this a false pretext for an unprovoked war of aggression by President Vladimir Putin.
Heappey said it was completely legitimate for Ukraine to strike Russian logistics lines and fuel supplies and he acknowledged the weapons the international community was now providing had the range to be used in Russia.
“That is not necessarily a problem. There are lots of countries around the world that operate kit that they have imported from other countries and when those bits of kit are used you tend not to blame the country that manufactured it, you blame the country that fired it,” he told Times Radio. — Reuters