Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has described the presence of US nuclear weapons in Europe as “unacceptable” to Moscow, warning that Russia will spare no effort to prevent Ukraine from acquiring such lethal weapons.

In a video address to the Geneva conference on disarmament on Tuesday, Lavrov said the presence of US nuclear weapons in a number of European countries was in contravention of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and that such weapons must have long been returned back to American soil to prevent a new round of an arms race.

“It is unacceptable for us that, contrary to the fundamental principles of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, US nuclear weapons are still present on the territory of some European countries,” he told the conference.

Lavrov also censured the practice of the so-called “joint nuclear missions” that involve non-nuclear NATO members.

“The bad practice of joint nuclear missions with the participation of non-nuclear NATO states continues. During such missions, the use of nuclear weapons against Russia is being practiced,” the top Russian diplomat said. “US nuclear weapons must have long been returned home, and the corresponding infrastructure in Europe must have long been eliminated.”

Lavrov stressed that Russia had always believed that there could be no winners in a nuclear war and that such a war must never happen.

Warning that Russia was doing everything it could to prevent Ukraine from acquiring nuclear weapons, Lavrov said Western powers should refrain from creating military installations in former Soviet states that are not members of NATO.

The Russian foreign minister called on Ukraine to realize the seriousness of the current situation, and said the “neo-Nazi government” in Kiev does not represent the entirety of the Ukrainian people.

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