THE WORLD

Lavrov: The US has plans to attack Russia if Ukraine loses

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that Russia had no plans to attack NATO countries if the conflict in Ukraine was considered a success in Russia's favor, but added that the US had plans to attack Russia if Ukraine is considered "lost".

"From Mr. Austin's open and clear statement, everything is completely the opposite. We do not have such plans and we cannot have them, but the Americans do," Lavrov said during an interview in Turkey, where he was receiving participate in the Forum of Diplomacy in Antalya, AP reported.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told a congressional hearing on Thursday that he believed NATO could be in "a war with Russia" if "Ukraine falls".

Austin attended the hearing to discuss a recent absence due to medical issues. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in early December.

Lavrov also commented on French President Emmanuel Macron's statement earlier this week in which he refused to rule out a possible deployment of Western troops to Ukraine.

"The fact of the desire to introduce troops is already official, unofficially they are already there," Lavrov said.

Macron's statement about the deployment of troops to Ukraine caused a reaction from other leaders.

French officials later tried to clarify Macron's statement and play down the backlash, insisting on the need to send a clear signal to Russia that it cannot win in Ukraine.