Sept. 23 (UPI) -- The United States is "directly at war" with Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Saturday, after the close of the high-level week of the 78th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York.
Lavrov made his remarks just over half an hour into a lengthy question-and-answer session with reporters, which was broadcast by Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Twitter. He had been asked at what point would the U.S. be at war with Russia as opposed to being described as a "proxy conflict."
"There are legal norms pursuant to which a country is identified as being a direct party to hostilities and Western countries are doing everything possible to avoid them, not to mention them," Lavrov said. "They are effectively engaged in hostilities with us using the Ukrainians as fodder."
Lavrov said that those who are following developments in the war can "know perfectly well that the Americans and the British and many others are engaged in hostilities."
"They are waging war with us. There are deliveries of more and more volumes of quantities of weapons," Lavrov said.
His comments mark the clearest delineation made yet about how Russia views its tensions with the United States stemming from its invasion of Ukraine.
Lavrov pointed to the billions of dollars worth of weapons provided to Ukraine as well as the training of Ukrainian military instructors "in Poland, Germany, and the United Kingdom" as evidence of U.S. involvement in the war.
"I am certain that there are instructors working in large quantities on Ukrainian soil as well. And of course, there are many mercenaries there, many of whom are official officers but their mercenary status allows them to avoid the crossing of that legal threshold," Lavrov claimed.
Lavrov's comments responded to a question about a recent report in TopWar, a Russian blog registered with the state's Roskomnadzor regulators, claiming that a U.S. Air Force plane was spotted near Crimea during a missile strike carried out by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. It could not be confirmed by UPI.
"U.S. and British reconnaissance planes are not only working to identify objectives and targets but are showing where our anti-air defenses are working so next time they could help," Lavrov said.
"So, you can call this whatever you want to call it, but they are directly at war with us. We call it the hybrid war but it doesn't change the reality."