The admission of Ukraine to NATO could result in a third world war, the deputy secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Alexander Venediktov, told the state TASS news agency in an interview on Thursday.
"Kyiv is well aware that such a step would mean a guaranteed escalation to a World War Three," TASS cited Venediktov as saying.
"Apparently, that's what they are counting on - to create informational noise and draw attention to themselves once again."
Venediktov also repeated a Russian position that the West, by helping Ukraine, indicated that "they are a direct party to the conflict."
What caused these comments from Russian officials?
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy announced a surprise bid for fast-track membership of the NATO military alliance at the end of September, after President Vladimir Putin held a ceremony in Moscow to proclaim the four partially occupied regions as annexed Russian land.