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Ukraine war

Russian lawmaker suggests kidnapping NATO defence minister in Ukraine

Russian lawmaker suggests kidnapping NATO defence minister in Ukraine
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky meeting with Ukrainian servicemen during his visit to the Kharkiv region, Ukraine, 29 May 2022, amid the Russian invasion. EPA-EFE/UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE HANDOUT

LONDON, May 31 (Reuters) - A senior Russian lawmaker has suggested kidnapping a NATO defence minister in Ukraine and bringing them to Moscow for questioning about what "orders" the West has been giving to Kyiv.

Oleg Morozov, first elected to the Russian parliament in 1993 and a member of the dominant United Russia party, said the supply of Western arms to Ukraine posed a direct threat to Russia and might require Moscow to review its military aims.

“You know, perhaps it is a fantastical plot that I have brewing … that in the near future, at some stage, a war minister of some NATO country will go by train to Kyiv to talk with (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelenskiy,” Morozov told the “60 Minutes” talk show on Rossiya-1 state TV late on Monday.

“But he would not get there. And would wake up somewhere in Moscow,” Morozov said.

“You mean we abduct them?” TV host Olga Skabeyeva, one of the most pro-Kremlin journalists on television, asked with a smile.

“Yes. And then we would sort out who gave which order for what, who is responsible for what exactly,” Morozov said. “It is not such a mythical picture … There are new rules in the world now. Let all those war ministers gathering in Kyiv think a little about what it would be like to wake up in Moscow.”

Neither Morozov nor Skabeyeva could be reached for comment.

A succession of Western politicians have visited Kyiv to show solidarity with Ukraine – including U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who travelled there in April with Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

President Vladimir Putin casts the 97-day-old war as a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and halt what he sees as the persecution of Russian-speakers by Ukrainian ultra-nationalists. He also accuses the United States of using Ukraine to threaten Russia through NATO enlargement.

Ukraine and its Western backers say Russia is waging an unprovoked war against a sovereign state which is fighting for its existence.

Russia has repeatedly warned the West that the supply of advanced arms to Ukraine risks escalating the war. Ukraine has called for the West to send more long-range weapons.

By Guy Faulconbridge

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Mark Trevelyan and Gareth Jones)

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