(Reuters) – The U.S. is pushing NATO to the “most unfavourable” confrontation with Moscow with the decisions expected from the alliance’s summit in Lithuania this week, while Kyiv’s allies are “losing” in Ukraine, Russian diplomats said late on Monday.
The Kremlin has been angered by the expected solidarity with Ukraine at the NATO summit which starts on Tuesday, saying Kyiv’s potential membership in the alliance would be a threat to Russia and Moscow will react clearly and firmly.
Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said the United States is preparing anti-Russian decisions at the NATO summit.
“Everything is being done to prepare the local public opinion for the approval of any anti-Russian decisions that will be made in Vilnius in the coming days,” Antonov said in a post on the embassy’s Telegram channel.
The summit in the Lithuanian capital will be dominated by the repercussions of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with leaders set to approve NATO’s first comprehensive plans since the end of the Cold War to defend against any attack from Moscow.
Diplomats also said differences were narrowing over Ukraine’s push for NATO membership.
“The situation continues to slide towards the most unfavourable outcome in the confrontation between the Russian Federation and the members of the alliance,” Antonov said.
Konstantin Gavrilov, a Vienna-based Russian diplomat and a senior Russian security negotiator, told the Russian RIA state news agency in an interview the West is “losing” in Ukraine.
“Both the United States and NATO understand that time is not working for them. They are losing in Ukraine,” Gavrilov said.
Kyiv’s counteroffensive, which began last month, has been proceeding more slowly than hoped, but Ukraine’s military said on Monday its forces had caught occupying Russian troops “in a trap” in the shattered eastern city of Bakhmut.
Reuters could not immediately verify the battlefield claims.
(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)
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