Officials of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO Thursday said its members were in the process of beefing up Europe’s air defenses and will commit more military aid to Ukraine, soon after Russian missiles struck Kyiv and six other Ukrainian cities.
In response to NATO’s pledges to Ukraine, Russian officials Thursday said the conflict in eastern Europe could escalate to World War Three if Ukraine were to be granted NATO membership.
Amid threats by the U.S. to defend “every inch” of allied territory, Alexander Venediktov, the deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council says the Kyiv administration should be cognizant that joining NATO would guarantee World War Three.
“Kyiv is well aware that such a step would mean a guaranteed escalation to a World War Three,” said Venediktov.
Experts say Russian officials have repeatedly justified its military aggression against Ukraine by saying Kyiv’s ambitions to join the western military alliance poses a threat to Russian security.
Experts add, NATO is not likely to grant Ukraine membership amid the ongoing war because that would put the United States and its western allies into direct conflict with Russia.
Ukrainian officials say over 40 settlements in the east European nation have been pounded by Russian missiles in the last 24 hours, while Kyiv’s air force carried out 32 strikes on 25 Russian targets.
Vitaly Kim, the regional governor in Ukraine’s southern port city of Mykolaiv says his city was heavily attacked last night which resulted in buildings destroyed, among them a five-story building.
“It is known that a number of civilian objects were hit,” said Kim in a social media post.