Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned sending a peace keeping mission to Ukraine could trigger ‘direct clashes’ between Russia and NATO.

Poland said last week that it would formally submit a proposal for a peacekeeping mission in Ukraine at the next NATO summit.

‘I hope they understand what they are talking about,’ Lavrov told staff and students at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations on Wednesday.

‘This will be the direct clash between the Russian and NATO armed forces that everyone has not only tried to avoid but said should not take place in principle.’

Lavrov’s comments come after Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Poland’s idea was reckless and extremely dangerous’.

‘Any possible confrontation between our troops and NATO forces could have clear consequences that would be hard to repair,’ Peskov told reporters.

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Moscow has accused Kyiv of stalling peace talks by making proposals unacceptable for Russia. While Ukraine has said it is willing to negotiate but will not surrender or accept Russian ultimatums.

Lavrov said Ukrainian authorities were backing away from their own proposals at the talks, making it difficult to achieve a breakthrough.

‘The talks have started, they are difficult because the Ukrainian side… constantly changes its mind and backs away from its own proposals,’ Lavrov said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said earlier on Wednesday that the talks with Russia were tough and at times confrontational.

Lavrov also accused the US of ‘holding Ukraine’s hand and deliberately hindering peace talks in a bid to drag out the war and keep Russia ‘in a state of military action’.

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‘It’s hard to avoid the impression that our American colleagues are holding their hand,’ Lavrov added.

He said that ‘the Americans simply see it as disadvantageous for them for this process to finish swiftly’, claiming ‘they are counting on continuing to pump up Ukraine with weapons’.

Lavrov spoke of ‘provocative statements’ about Soviet-era MiG fighter planes – apparently referring to Poland’s offer to send its MiG-29 fighter jets via a US air base, which the US rejected – and Ukraine’s pleas for sending extra Stinger missiles.

The United States ‘apparently wants to keep us in a state of military action as long as possible’, the Russian minister said.

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‘Western countries want to play some kind of intermediary role but we have red lines’, he added.

Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in what it called a special operation to degrade its neighbour’s military capabilities and to root out people it called dangerous nationalists.

Ukrainian forces have mounted stiff resistance while the West has imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia in an effort to force it to withdraw its forces.

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