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CNBC: Ukraine war live updates: Russia warns the world is on the brink of a ‘direct military clash’ between nuclear powers

  |   By Polling+ Staff

(Photo by GRIGORY SOKOLOV / POOL / AFP) (Photo by GRIGORY SOKOLOV/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Ukraine war live updates: Russia warns the world is on the brink of a ‘direct military clash’ between nuclear powers

And the world teeters on the brink?  The story reports:

“Russia warned Monday that the risk of a “direct military clash” between Russia and nuclear powers in the West is rising.

“Westerners are dangerously balancing on the brink of a direct military clash between nuclear powers, which is fraught with catastrophic consequences,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a video message to the participants of the Moscow Nonproliferation Conference.

The comments come after Russia reacted angrily to the U.S. House of Representatives passing a $61 billion foreign aid package for Kyiv at the weekend.

House lawmakers approved the aid Saturday despite long-standing objections from hardline Republicans; the bill now passes to the Democratic-majority Senate, which is expected to approve the legislation later this week before it’s passed to President Joe Biden to sign it into law. 

The aid is a lifeline for Ukraine, whose forces in the east of the country have had to ration their usage of shells amid shortages of supplies; Russian forces have been making gains in the Donbas region, with Ukraine pleading for more air defense systems, artillery and ammunition to turn the tide in the war. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked U.S. lawmakers saying the bill passed by the House “will keep the war from expanding, save thousands and thousands of lives, and help both of our nations to become stronger.” He urged the Senate to pass the bill as quickly as possible. 

European ministers said on Monday they were looking urgently at how to provide more air defence to Ukraine but they stopped short of concrete pledges of the Patriot systems that Kyiv values most.

Meeting in Luxembourg, foreign and defence ministers from the European Union said the U.S. House of Representatives vote to approve a $60 billion Ukraine package at the weekend should not lead to any complacency on their part.

“We can be joyous for a day but we have to be prepared for the battle that is coming tomorrow. Therefore there can be no calming down,” Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis told reporters as he arrived at the meeting.

With Russia having stepped up air attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure and cities, EU governments are under pressure to supply more protective systems to Kyiv. But countries that have U.S.-made Patriots – which Ukraine already uses and values highly for their ability to shoot down fast-moving ballistic missiles – were non-committal on Monday.

Since Kyiv began a push for more Patriots in recent weeks, Germany has been the only EU country to pledge an extra battery. Berlin is also leading a drive to get more air defence from other countries for Ukraine, through donations of equipment and financial contributions.

Other European countries including Greece, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain and Sweden also have Patriot systems. Global military spending hit all-time high in 2023, report finds

Global military spending reached a record high of $2.44 trillion in 2023 after jumping 6.8% from 2022 amid a “global deterioration in peace and security,” the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in a report on Monday.

Trends in World Military Expenditure, 2023

World military expenditure increased for the ninth consecutive year in 2023, reaching a total of $2443 billion. …

Ukraine and Russia topped the list for the countries that increased their military spending the most in 2023, by 51% and 24%, respectively. Russia’s actual military expenditure remained far above that of Ukraine at an estimated $109 billion.

This figure is likely an underestimation, the report noted, as Russia’s financials are highly opaque, and the budget allocated to military spending is supplemented by businesses, individuals and organizations.

Ukraine’s military spending meanwhile totaled around $64.8 billion — around 59% the amount of Russia’s spending, but 37% of Ukraine’s GDP, the report said. The figure does not include the tens of billions of military aid that Kyiv receives, which narrow the gap between its expenses and those of Russia.”

History records repeatedly that when nations play around like this, nothing good comes of it. Germany was supposedly forbidden to arm itself after World War I. It didn’t work out that way.