Russia's Lavrov accuses West of stoking nuclear panic
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov delivers a pre-recorded video speech at the 49th session of the UN Human Rights Council at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva. Jean Marc Ferré/UN Photo/dpa
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov delivers a pre-recorded video speech at the 49th session of the UN Human Rights Council at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva. Jean Marc Ferré/UN Photo/dpa

Western nations' warnings of a nuclear escalation in the Ukraine war amount to scaremongering, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says.

"Everyone knows that a third World War can only be a nuclear one," Lavrov said, while claiming that such an escalation was only being considered by Western politicians.

"I assure you that we will not allow provocations that make us lose our balance," Lavrov said in a press conference with Russian and international media, which was broadcast live on Russian state television.

"But if [the West] starts unleashing a real war against us, those who are hatching such plans should think about it, and they are thinking about it in my view," he added.

His comments come after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the country's deterrent weapons, including nuclear weapons, be put on special alert.

He accused the West of being responsible for the escalation and spoke of "hysteria."