MOSCOW (AA) - The relations between Moscow and Washington are on the edge of an open armed conflict, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has said.
"We are working to keep relations with the US from falling into the abyss of an open armed conflict, we are already on the verge, on the edge of this abyss," Ryabkov said on Thursday night in an interview with Russian Pervy TV channel.
Russia and the US maintain contacts, and the problem is in the lack of trust, that Washington defies everything Moscow says as "disinformation," he said.
The diplomat added that the US "has long been a direct part to the Ukrainian conflict, waging an open hybrid war."
"Ukraine is only a tool in their hands. ... Their goal is to destroy a sovereign, independent Russia as an international factor, they are increasingly tempted to play with the idea of dismemberment of Russia. ... This is a direct encroachment on the foundations of our state system," he stressed.
Ryabkov also said Russia has many times explained the roots of the conflict in Ukraine, including the "destructive role that the US played in events, preceding the 2014 coup in Kyiv" that led to eight years of civil war in Donbas, which no one, except Russia, wanted to solve with diplomatic means.
"And now, they are trying to pretend that they are only helping Kyiv in its kind of struggle, this is the height of cynicism and hypocrisy," he said.
Ryabkov further claimed that it depends on Washington when Kyiv will stop fighting and get to the negotiating table, and that the US is currently determined to inflict on Russia a "strategic defeat."
"We see that the US bets on further escalation and we warn them against it. ... We remind them that the risks have increased many times in recent months," he stressed.
The diplomat said there is no "magic solution" for the Russia-US difference, and that Moscow is waiting for a response from Washington that will allow to make a consequence that its signals were heard.
- Drone attack on Kremlin and arrest of US journalist
Ryabkov said the US reaction to Tuesday's drone attacks on Kremlin is a "neglect of the basics of foreign policy," adding that Washington's attempts to show their non-involvement do not persuade anyone.
"I think that any sane person in any country will understand that we are talking about the fact that the US continues its escalating course and uses its wards in Kyiv, its puppets there, to organize and carry out increasingly defiant and increasingly dangerous provocative actions," he stressed.
The US can deny its responsibility and involvement in the attack, but this "does not convince anyone," Ryabkov noted.
As for Russia, it is ready to use all means to defend its security and leadership, he stressed.
Turning to the arrest of US journalist Evan Gershkovich, the Russian deputy foreign minister said Washington did not provide any evidence of the journalist's innocence.
According to Ryabkov, the situation around Gershkovich is being "heated to the limit" by the US media and presidential administration, which are trying to exercise pressure on Russia this way, but, he said, the decision on Gershkovich's case will be made by the court.
"Gershkovich was caught red-handed. Officials in Washington are not able to oppose anything to this," Ryabkov stressed.