The United States rejected “ludicrous” accusations from Russia that it was behind an alleged drone attack on the Kremlin as Moscow’s deputy foreign minister warned the two powers are on the precipice of an “open-armed conflict.”
Relations between the US and Russia are at their lowest point since the Cold War, but in the aftermath of Wednesday’s purported drone attack on the Kremlin – the official residence of the Russian president – Moscow has dramatically dialed up its rhetoric.
When asked by CNN if Moscow believed the US was behind the attack, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said: “Undoubtedly, such decisions, the definition of goals, the definition of means – all this is dictated to Kyiv from Washington.”
“We are well aware that decisions on such actions and such terrorist attacks are not made in Kyiv, but in Washington. And Kyiv is already executing what it is told to do,” Peskov said.
Peskov did not provide any evidence to his claims, nor additional details regarding the alleged attack, saying that information would be released later.
Earlier this week, Russia claimed Ukraine launched a drone strike targeting the Kremlin in an attempt to assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling it a “planned terrorist attack.” Ukraine has strongly denied any involvement.
John Kirby, the US National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, denied Russia’s “ludicrous” claim the US directed Ukraine to carry out the alleged attack and kill Putin, and accused the president’s spokesperson of lying.
“I would just tell you Mr. Peskov’s lying. I mean, it’s obviously a ludicrous claim. The United States had nothing to do with this. We don’t even know what happened here,” said Kirby.
“But I can assure you the United States had no role in it whatsoever.”
The White House still has no indication who was behind the drone attack and Kirby said the US does not “endorse, we do not encourage, we do not support attacks on individual leaders.”
Russia doubled down on its bellicose rhetoric later Thursday when Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told local media that relations between the US and Russia are on the verge of an “open-armed conflict.”
“We are working to prevent relations with the US from plunging into the abyss of an open armed conflict. We are already standing on the edge, on the edge of this precipice,” Ryabkov told Russia’s Channel One Thursday, according to state media agency TASS.
Ryabkov also accused US officials of trying to “promote the idea of Washington’s non-involvement” in the purported drone attack, TASS reported.
“Washington has long been a direct party to the Ukrainian conflict and aims to destroy sovereign Russia,” he said, according to TASS.
CNN has reached out to the US State Department and the White House for comment on Ryabkov’s remarks.
Earlier Thursday, Kirby said since the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine, Moscow has been “trying to paint this war as some sort of fight with the West against Russia, NATO against Russia, the United States against Russia.”
“And, of course, it’s not; Russia is the aggressor here,” he said.