Russian deputy FM warns NATO 'playing with fire' with weapons shipments

Another Russian official accused NATO of "having a hand" in alleged Ukrainian drone strikes against Russian airfields.

NATO and Russian flags are seen through broken glass this illustration taken April 13, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC/ILLUSTRATION)
NATO and Russian flags are seen through broken glass this illustration taken April 13, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC/ILLUSTRATION)

Russian deputy foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov warned NATO was "playing with fire" by providing weapons shipments to Ukraine in an interview with the Rossiya-24 TV channel on Thursday.

"NATO members are increasingly and directly involved in this conflict. Their support for Kyiv is now much more diversified than it was a few months ago. This is a reflection of Washington’s intentional policy, obediently pursued by the Europeans, of escalating the conflict. They are playing with fire. The risks are soaring," said Ryabkov.

The deputy foreign minister stressed that Western countries are expanding weapons deliveries to Ukraine, including "heavier, longer-range weapons."

"At the same time, they slyly and deceitfully, by and large, try to create an impression that there is some kind of a border line, some kind of self-restraint in this regard. We do not see anything like that."

Ryabkov warned Western countries against the "consequences of these steps."

Additionally, on Thursday, Konstantin Gavrilov, head of Russia's delegation to the Vienna negotiations on military security and arms control, told RIA Novosti that NATO "had a hand" in alleged Ukrainian drone strikes against Russian airfields in Dyagilevo and Engels.

"The Russian side has repeatedly pointed out that the United States and its satellites are increasingly being consolidated in the status of participants in the Ukrainian conflict," said Gavrilov.

Ukrainian servicemen fire with a Bureviy multiple launch rocket system at a position in Donetsk region, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, Ukraine, November 29, 2022. (credit: RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY/SERHII NUZHNENKO VIA REUTERS)Ukrainian servicemen fire with a Bureviy multiple launch rocket system at a position in Donetsk region, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, Ukraine, November 29, 2022. (credit: RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY/SERHII NUZHNENKO VIA REUTERS)

Claims just weeks after Russian official accuses NATO of flying drones towards border

The claims by the two Russian officials come just weeks after the governor of Russia's Pskov Region, Mikhail Vedernikov, claimed that NATO drones have attempted to cross the border of the Pskov Region repeatedly starting prior to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and continuing to the present day.

"We have never provided extensive coverage to that but there were attempts of military unmanned aerial vehicles and other aircraft to illegally cross the border," said Vedernikov, according to TASS.

"All such ‘peaceful interaction’ was ‘flourishing’ even before the start of the special military operation," added the governor. "Clearly all that has aggravated further at present."

The Pskov region is located along Russia's border with Estonia, Latvia and Belarus. Estonia and Latvia are both NATO members.