Russia and the United States are on what Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov called "the verge of an open armed conflict." But Ryabkov told Russia's state-owned First Channel that "Moscow is working to make sure it doesn't happen," according to state news agency TASS.
Ryabkov said Moscow and Washington are in contact as needed, including at a high level, but also added that "Washington has long been a direct party to the Ukrainian conflict and aims to destroy sovereign Russia," TASS reported.
Some context: The news comes on the heels of Russia's claim that the US was involved in an alleged drone attack on the Kremlin and an assassination attempt against President Vladimir Putin. Both allegations drew sharp denials from Kyiv and Washington.
John Kirby, the National Security Council’s Coordinator for Strategic Communications, called Russia’s allegation that the US directed Ukraine to carry out such an attack “ridiculous.”
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the US did not know who was responsible.
“I would take anything coming out of the Kremlin with a very large shaker of salt,” he said at a Washington Post event Wednesday.