Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin of a “Freudian slip” that revealed “plans” for NATO to attack Russia.

Austin predicted during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin would start attacking NATO nations in Europe if Russia wins its war in Ukraine, leading to a conflict with the alliance.

“If you’re a Baltic state, you’re really worried about whether or not you’re next,” Austin said. “And quite frankly, if Ukraine falls, I really believe that NATO will be in a fight with Russia.”

Lavrov claimed during a diplomatic conference in Antalya, Turkey, on Friday that Austin had “blurted out” secret American plans to start a war between NATO and Russia, according to a report from Russian state-run news agency TASS.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov NATO War
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is pictured on Wednesday during a press conference in Moscow. Lavrov claimed on Friday that the U.S. has “plans” for NATO to attack Russia.


“The meaning of this statement is that if Ukraine loses, NATO will have to go against Russia,” Lavrov said. “In a Freudian slip, he blurted out what they had in mind. Before that, everyone was saying: We can’t let Ukraine lose, because Putin will not stop at this and will take over the Baltics, Poland, Finland.”

“But it turns out, according to Mr. Austin’s open, unambiguous statement, it’s the other way round,” he continued. “We do not have such plans and cannot have them, but the Americans do.”

Newsweek reached out for comment to the Department of Defense via email on Friday.

While Lavrov claimed that Austin’s remarks meant that the U.S. was planning for NATO to attack Russia, the defense secretary clearly suggested that Russia might attack at least one of the Baltic countries—Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, all of which are NATO members.

Article Five of NATO’s founding document, the North Atlantic Treaty, commonly referred to as the Washington Treaty, states that “an armed attack against one or more” of its member nations “shall be considered an attack against them all,” meaning that Russia would effectively be starting a conflict with the alliance under the scenario that Austin predicted.

On Friday, Lavrov went on to accuse President Joe Biden’s administration of “dragging Ukraine into NATO” and masterminding a conspiracy to destroy Russia’s Nord Stream gas pipelines to boost the U.S. economy and reduce competition from the European Union.

“All major expenses have been shifted to Europe,” Lavrov said. “People are living increasingly worse, energy resources have rocketed in price manyfold, compared with what it could have been if the Americans had not blown up the Nord Stream gas pipelines.”

“This goal has been achieved,” he added. “Europe is now no longer a competitor to the U.S. at all. All the main businesses and manufacturing industry are moving to the U.S., where conditions are completely different and energy is much cheaper.”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was launched in part due to Putin’s concerns about the expansion of NATO. Regardless, the alliance has continued to grow over the course of the war, with Finland joining last year and Sweden looking likely become a member later this year.

Tensions between Moscow and NATO have been escalating in recent months, with a military buildup occurring along the alliance’s borders with Russia. Officials from Russia and several of its neighbors have increasingly expressed concerns about the Ukraine war growing to involve NATO.