Moscow has warned NATO that any move toward Ukraine's membership in the union will have consequences, according to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko, quoted by the RIA news agency on Thursday.

According to RIA, Rudenko was asked about US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's remarks during a visit to Ukraine last week, in which he stated that Washington supported Kyiv's aspirations to join the transatlantic alliance and that no country could veto such a move.

Earlier, Austin, speaking on the chances for Ukraine's membership in NATO, stated that third countries do not have the right to block Ukraine's accession to the alliance and that Washington supports Kyiv in its aspirations. Rudenko emphasised that this is not the first time such assessments have been made by NATO representatives or US officials, and that this approach is often represented in charter documents.

"But we are still focusing not on the official position, but on concrete steps. We believe that this would be an extremely dangerous step that would force Russia to react accordingly," Rudenko said. "Since these are negotiations between NATO and Ukraine, it is up to them to decide when and what is needed, but we kind of warned them, any step will have consequences. NATO knows our position on Ukraine," the high-ranking diplomat said.