Russia\u0026#039;s top diplomat warned Monday that NATO countries are \u0022pouring oil on the fire\u0022 in Ukraine and heightening the chances of a full-blown nuclear conflict by continuing to dump advanced weaponry into the war zone, comments that came after top U.S. officials vowed to provide Kyiv with another $700 million in military aid.\r\n\r\nIn an interview on Russian state television, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the possibility of nuclear war \u0022should not be underestimated\u0022 and added that \u0022under no circumstances should a Third World War be allowed to happen.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022What is the U.S. and European diplomatic strategy for bringing an end to the war and deterring further aggression that is backed by nuclear threats?\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022The risk is serious, real,\u0022 said Lavrov. \u0022There can be no winners in a nuclear war.\u0022\r\n\r\nLavrov went on to argue that by heavily arming Ukraine as it combats Russia\u0026#039;s illegal and deadly invasion, NATO members are, \u0022in essence, going to war with Russia through a proxy.\u0022\r\n\r\nDmytro Kuleba, Ukraine\u0026#039;s foreign minister, replied that Lavrov\u0026#039;s \u0022talk of a \u0026#039;real\u0026#039; danger of WWIII\u0022 is part of Moscow\u0026#039;s effort to \u0022scare the world off supporting Ukraine.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022This only means Moscow senses defeat in Ukraine,\u0022 Kuleba wrote in a Twitter post on Monday. \u0022Therefore, the world must double down on supporting Ukraine so that we prevail and safeguard European and global security.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe Russian foreign minister\u0026#039;s remarks aired hours after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin visited Kyiv to reiterate the Biden administration\u0026#039;s intention to continue supplying Ukraine with advanced weaponry.\r\n\r\nWhile far from alone, the U.S. has been Ukraine\u0026#039;s top weapons provider, authorizing nearly $4 billion worth of\u0026nbsp;Javelin anti-tank missiles, drones that explode on impact, and other equipment.\r\n\r\nDuring the visit, Austin said that the Biden administration\u0026#039;s objective in Ukraine is to \u0022see Russia weakened to the point where it can\u0026#039;t do things like invade Ukraine\u0022—a statement that appeared to confirm anti-war critics\u0026#039; concerns that the U.S. is more interested in damaging Russia than achieving a peaceful resolution to the devastating war, which has sparked a massive humanitarian crisis with global consequences.\r\n\r\n\u0022What is the U.S. and European diplomatic strategy for bringing an end to the war and deterring further aggression that is backed by nuclear threats?\u0022 Daryl Kimball, director of the Arms Control Association asked Tuesday in response to Austin\u0026#039;s comments.\r\n\r\nIn a column last month, The Intercept\u0026#039;s Jeremy Scahill wrote that \u0022it may be the case that the flow of Western weapons to the Ukrainian forces will so bleed Russia that it pulls out of Ukraine, fatally damaging [Russian President Vladimir] Putin\u0026#039;s grip on power and saving many lives.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022But if it doesn\u0026#039;t, and the flow of weapons delays a negotiated settlement between Russia, Ukraine, and NATO,\u0022 Scahill added, \u0022then it is hard to see the massive scope of the weapons transfers as a clear positive.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAt a Tuesday gathering of officials from more than 40 countries, Austin declared that the U.S. is \u0022going to keep moving heaven and earth\u0022 to help meet Ukraine\u0026#039;s military needs. German officials also pledged at the meeting to ship heavy arms to Ukraine.\r\n\r\nAustin later addressed Lavrov\u0026#039;s interview, saying that \u0022nobody wants to see a nuclear war.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022Nobody can win it,\u0022 Austin added. \u0022There\u0026#039;s always a possibility a number of things can happen but I think it is unhelpful and dangerous to rattle sabers and speculate about the use of nuclear weapons.\u0022\r\n\r\nAs the New York Times reported Monday, the Biden administration is relying \u0022on American defense contractors to scour Eastern European munitions factories to find newly made weapons designed by the United States\u0026#039; former adversary, the Soviet Union, to fulfill President Biden\u0026#039;s pledges of increased military aid for Ukraine.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe accelerating flow of advanced weaponry into Ukraine comes amid fears that the prospects of a diplomatic resolution to Russia\u0026#039;s war are dimming. Earlier this month, Putin said peace talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegations are at a \u0022dead end\u0022 as Moscow ramped up its attacks on eastern Ukraine.\r\n\r\nPeace advocates have been warning since the start of Russia\u0026#039;s full-scale assault on Ukraine in February that the invasion heightens the threat of nuclear catastrophe. Nuclear weapons manufacturers have seen their share prices surge since Russia launched its invasion, which began with Putin issuing an ominous threat of nuclear strikes against any country that interferes.\r\n\r\nThe Biden administration, meanwhile, has faced criticism for keeping a nuclear first strike by the U.S. on the table in its Nuclear Posture Review.\r\n\r\n\u0022Putin is threatening the first use of nuclear weapons to hold Ukraine hostage and keep the U.S. and NATO out,\u0022 Tom Collina, policy director at the Ploughshares Fund, said earlier this month. \u0022This is nuclear blackmail, and it\u0026#039;s a dangerous precedent that we must oppose.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022It\u0026#039;s therefore deeply disappointing that the Biden administration just missed a key opportunity to reject first use,\u0022\u0026nbsp;Collina added. \u0022Instead, Biden\u0026#039;s policy also allows first use and is essentially the same as Russia\u0026#039;s, and this undermines Biden\u0026#039;s ability to build international opposition to what Putin is doing.\u0022\r\n\r\nThis story has been updated to include new comments from U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.