A NUCLEAR world war is now a "real" danger and Britain and Nato would be a "legitimate" target, Russia's foreign minister has warned.
In a chilling message, Sergei Lavrov said the risk of World War Three is now "considerable" and must not be "underestimated".
Lavrov accused Nato forces of "pouring oil on the fire" by supplying arms to Ukrainian troops – and claimed Russia wanted to prevent a nuclear war at all costs.
In an interview with Russian news agencies, he said: "This is our key position on which we base everything. The risks now are considerable.
"I would not want to elevate those risks artificially. Many would like that. The danger is serious, real, And we must not underestimate it."
And the war hawk said Britain and other Nato countries "would be a legitimate target" after "pumping weapons into Ukraine".
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Lavrov said: "Nato, in essence, is engaged in a war with Russia through a proxy and is arming that proxy. War means war."
The foreign minister also criticised Kyiv's approach to peace talks with Moscow.
He said: "Goodwill has its limits. But if it isn't reciprocal, that doesn't help the negotiation process."
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba described Lavrov's comments as a sign of Russia's weakness.
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In a statement on Twitter, Kuleba said Russia had lost its "last hope to scare the world off supporting Ukraine".
He added: "This only means Moscow senses defeat."
Britain also downplayed the Russian warnings.
Armed Services Minister James Heappey told the BBC: "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."
It comes after the US approved the potential sale of $165 million worth of ammunition to Ukraine on Monday.
The Pentagon said the package could include ammunition for howitzers, tanks and grenade launchers.
Moscow's ambassador to Washington told the US to halt shipments – warning that Western weapons were fuelling the conflict.
Moscow has stepped up its blame of the UK, claiming a secret “Psyops" unit operating in Ukraine has carried out war atrocities such as raping woman and bombing children.
UN VISIT TO MOSCOW
Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is due to arrive in Moscow today to meet Vladimir Putin and Lavrov – the highest profile peace mission since the war began.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has left thousands dead or injured, reduced towns and cities to rubble, and forced more than five million people to flee.
Russia has yet to capture any of Ukraine's biggest cities after its forces pulled back from the outskirts of the capital of Kyiv in the face of resistance last month.
Putin's new war aims to focus mainly on the east – and more troops have been sent there there for an assault on two provinces.
While focusing on the east and south, Russia has also been targeting other parts of Ukraine with missiles and air strikes.
On Monday, its defence ministry said it destroyed six facilities powering railways used to deliver foreign weapons to Ukrainian forces.
Ukraine's military command said Russia was trying to bomb Ukraine's rail infrastructure to disrupt arms supplies from foreign countries.
The head of Ukraine's state rail company said one railway worker had been killed and four left injured by Russian missile strikes on five railway stations.
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President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said last night: "It is obvious that every day – and especially today, when the third month of our resistance has begun – that everyone in Ukraine is concerned with peace, about when it will all be over.
"There is no simple answer to that at this time."
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