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Daily Record
Daily Record
Ben Glaze & Hannah Mackenzie Wood

Russian ambassador tells BBC host: 'Offend me once again we will stop this interview'

The Russian ambassador to Britain threatened a "a new dimension" in the Ukraine war and says his country is "yet to act seriously".

In an interview with BBC, Andrei Kelin accused the UK of fuelling an “escalation” in the conflict by supplying long-range missiles to Ukrainian forces and helping them to acquire fighter jets. The envoy also claimed that the Kremlin troops had "enormous resources" and will undoubtedly succeed in their invasion, which first began on February 24 last year.

Speaking on BBC1's Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, he said: "It’s a big idealistic mistake to think that Ukraine may prevail. Russia is 16 times bigger than Ukraine - we have enormous resources.

"We haven’t started yet to act very seriously.”

Mr Kelin, who has been Vladimir Putin’s representative in London since 2019, claimed an “escalation of war” was being “undertaken by NATO countries, especially by the UK”, the Mirror reports.

Russian ambassador Andrei Kelin threatened to end the interview with BBC journalist Laura Kuenssberg. (PA)

He added: “Sooner or later, of course, this escalation may get a new dimension which we do not need and we do not want.”

However, Mr Kelin said that Russia would "make peace tomorrow" if Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was "prepared to negotiate."

In the tense clash with Ms Kuenssberg, who met with the diplomat at his official residence in Kensington Palace Gardens - also known as London’s “Billionaires’ Row” - Mr Kelin threatened to end the interview over her relentless questioning.

She told him: “It’s remarkable speaking to you this afternoon that you are happy to repeat claims that have been disproven, you’re happy to try to deflect questions, you’re happy to mislead our audience about the truth - maybe you’re even lying to yourself about what is really going on.”

He replied: “I think they have told you, if you try to offend me once again we will just stop this interview.”

He has been the ambassador to the UK since 2019. (PA)

Me Kelin then added: “I am not misleading you, I am just telling you our side of this story.”

The interview comes as Kyiv was hit by the largest drone raids since the start of the invasion. Russia launched the “most massive attack” on the city overnight with Iranian-made Shahed drones, said Serhii Popko, a senior military official in the capital.

Air defences reportedly shot down dozens of drones during the attack, which continued for more than five hours. Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said a 41-year-old man was killed and a 35-year-old woman was injured when debris fell on a seven storey building and sparked a fire.

Ukraine’s air force said Saturday night was record-breaking for the number of Shahed drone attacks across the country. Of 54 drones deployed, 52 were destroyed by air defence systems, it said.

Today is Kyiv Day, marking the 1,541st anniversary of the city’s official founding, with officials stating that the timing of the drone attacks was unlikely to be a coincidence. Mr Popko added: “Today, the enemy decided to ‘congratulate’ the people of Kyiv on Kyiv Day with the help of their deadly UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles).”

Ukraine’s chief presidential aide Andriy Yermak said on Telegram: “The history of Ukraine is a long-standing irritant for the insecure Russians.”

In the north-eastern Kharkiv province, regional governor Oleh Syniehubov said a 61-year-old woman and a 60-year-old man were killed in two separate shelling attacks.

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