Russia is committed to avoiding nuclear war, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, after he was quizzed repeatedly about the possible use of atomic weapons in Ukraine.

Lavrov made the comments in an interview Tuesday with India Today TV in which he avoided a direct answer on the subject. He isn’t responsible for military decision-making. In the weeks leading up to Russia’s invasion, the foreign minister regularly denied the Kremlin planned a military operation against Ukraine.

Russia and the U.S. issued a statement last year in which they agreed "there must be no nuclear war, don’t even think about it,” Lavrov said. In January, Russia and the other four permanent members of the United Nations Security Council adopted a similar stance, he added.

Western intelligence officials have warned that the Kremlin might turn to tactical or other limited nuclear weapons from its arsenal if its invasion of Ukraine continues to struggle.

In the interview, Lavrov said Russia’s military operation has entered a new phase and will continue. Ukraine said the Kremlin started a new offensive in the Donbas region of the country overnight.