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The Associated Press·15 min readIn this article:
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  • Sergey LavrovSergey LavrovRussian politician and Foreign Minister

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Monday that Ukraine risks provoking World War III and said the threat of a nuclear conflict “should not be underestimated.”

In an in-depth Russian TV interview, Lavrov blamed Ukraine for stalled talks between the two countries, and accused the United States and Britain of pressuring Kyiv not to reach agreement.

“Everyone is reciting incantations that in no case can we allow World War III,” Lavrov said, and accused Ukrainian leaders of provoking Russia by asking NATO to become involved in the conflict.

By providing weapons, NATO forces are “pouring oil on the fire,” he said, according to a Russian transcript on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website.

Lavrov apparently made the remarks after U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the United States wants “to see Russia weakened to the point where it can’t do things like invade Ukraine.”

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told The Associated Press in an interview Monday that only discussions between Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin would bring resolution.

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:

— US promises new aid to Ukraine in fight against Russia

— To Europe’s relief, France’s Macron wins but far-right gains

— Russian officer: Missile to carry several hypersonic weapons

— Follow all AP stories on Russia's war on Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

NEW YORK — The Metropolitan Opera and the Polish National Opera are organizing a Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra to tour Europe and America from July 28 to Aug. 20.

The orchestra is to gather in Warsaw on July 18 for rehearsals and will include musicians from Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv and Odesa plus Ukrainian members of European orchestras, the companies said Monday.

Keri-Lynn Wilson, a Canadian-Ukrainian conductor who is married to Met general manager Peter Gelb, will lead musicians who include members of the Kyiv National Opera, National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra and Kharkiv Opera plus the Tonkunstler Orchestra of Vienna, the Belgian National Orchestra and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

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