Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev claimed Russia would have no choice but to deploy nuclear weapons if the Ukrainian counter-offensive was successful.
Mr Medvedev, who is deputy chair of Russia’s security council, seemingly took to his social media accounts to celebrate Russia’s Navy Day.
In a long message on Twitter, the leader of the ruling United Russia party claimed that the Russian Army isn’t just defending its country’s citizens by fighting Kyiv’s counter-offensive in occupied Ukraine.
He wrote on Twitter: “By repelling the collective enemy’s counteroffensive, our Armed Forces are defending Russian citizens and our land. It is quite clear to all decent people. Besides that, they are preventing global conflict.”
Describing the counter-offensive, launched in early June by Kyiv, as “NATO-supported”, Mr Medvedev said that, should this manoeuvre be successful, “and they took away a part of our land”, Russia “would have to, following the President’s degree of 02.06.2020, use the nuclear weapon”.
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The politician referred to the nuclear deterrent policy signed off by Russian President Vladimir Putin in June 2020, which allows the Kremlin to use atomic weapons should its key government or military infrastructure be attacked even through the use of conventional weapons.
While mentioning “our land”, the former president appeared to be speaking about the four Ukrainian territories Russia unilaterally annexed in September 2022 – the Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia regions, the focus of the counter-offensive.
In 2014, Russia had already annexed Crimea from Ukraine – whose bridge linking the peninsula to mainland Russia, Kerch Bridge, was recently struck by a missile believed to have been fired by Ukraine.
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Chillingly, Mr Medvedev added: “There would simply be no other way out. That’s why our enemies must worship our warriors. They are keeping global nuclear fire from flaring up.”
Issuing yet another warning to “enemies” of Russia, Mr Medvedev said: “PS: The unmanned underwater vehicle Poseidon sends its greetings and recommends the enemies of our country to pray for all the Russian marines’ health.”
Mr Medvedev, who was Russia’s president between 2008 and 2012 before taking on the post of Prime Minister for the following eight years, referred to the country’s next-generation Poseidon torpedo, which Moscow was reportedly successful in testing earlier this month.
This isn’t the first time the former Russian leader mentioned the spectre of nuclear war.
At the beginning of July, he claimed a nuclear “apocalypse” involving Russia and the West wasn’t possible but rather “quite probable”.
In an op-ed for the Kremlin-backed Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper, Mr Medvedev also claimed that Western “opponents” set on the “defeat” of Russia have created the current hostile environment – despite Moscow launching a full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year.
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