A bombed-out city in Ukraine
A bombed-out city in Ukraineצילום: Shutterstock

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced on Tuesday that the Ukraine war is entering a new phase that will be "a very important moment of this entire special operation."

In an interview Lavrov gave to India Today, the foreign minister said that Russia’s military operation in eastern Ukraine was “aimed as it was announced from the very beginning to fully liberate the Donetsk and Luhansk republics.”

“Another stage of this operation is beginning and I'm sure this will be a very important moment of this entire special operation,” he added.

Lavrov was asked multiple times if Russia is considering using nuclear weapons in the conflict. Lavrov insisted that the claims were being made by the Ukrainians, and specifically named Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He also said that Russia has been against using nuclear weapons in the past.

"We never mentioned about this," Lavrov said when asked about statements Zelenskyy made that Russia was considering using nuclear weapons in the conflict.

When interviewer again asked Lavror a second time if Russian was considering using nuclear weapons, he responded: "When the Soviet Union and the U.S. in 1987 – Gorbachev and Reagan – decided that they have a special responsibility for peace on this planet, they signed a solemn declaration that there could be no winners in a nuclear war and therefore a nuclear war must never be launched.”

Lavror was also asked about mounting civilian deaths in Ukraine and about alleged atrocities by Russian troops in Bucha and other cities.

He responded that the reports were “staged and played.”