The Kremlin has warned of an escalation in the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine if the West moves forward with plans to send powerful weapons to the region.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that any deployment of arms to Ukraine would be a “direct and obvious threat” to his country and would lead to a “very serious consequence.”
The warning comes as NATO is considering a proposal to send arms and other military equipment to Ukraine in order to deter further Russian aggression.
The United States has also backed the move, with President Barack Obama saying that the U.S. would provide “lethal and non-lethal” aid to Ukraine.
However, Putin said that the West should not take any “provocative steps” that could lead to an outbreak of a nuclear war.
He added that Russia would be forced to take countermeasures if the NATO proposal is approved, and that it would be “a direct and obvious threat to our security.”
The conflict in eastern Ukraine has been ongoing since 2014 and has left more than 10,000 people dead. The West has accused Russia of backing the separatists in the region. Russia denies the allegations.