Former Russian president warns of nuclear war over Ukraine

The Kremlin backs Dmitry Medvedev’s comments: ‘This is in full accordance with our nuclear doctrine.’

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Dmitry Medvedev, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strongest allies, threatened the West Thursday with nuclear war if his country loses the war with Ukraine.

In reaction to those who support Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s position that the only way the war with Russia can end is with the total withdrawal of all Russian forces from all Ukrainian territory, including the regions Moscow has unilaterally annexed, the current deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council wrote on Telegram, “The defeat of a nuclear power in a conventional war can provoke the outbreak a nuclear war.”

“Nuclear powers have never lost major conflicts on which their fate depends,” he continued, stressing these words in italics.

He then added, “But this should be obvious to anyone. Even to a Western politician who has retained at least some trace of intelligence.”

This could have been an oblique snipe at German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who said during a speech on the eve of this week’s World Economic Forum in Davos that “to achieve peace, Russia must lose.”

His warning also came in context of noting that “great military leaders” of NATO will be meeting Friday in Germany to discuss what new military supplies its member states will be sending to Kyiv.

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The Ukraine Defense Contact Group, consisting of some 50 countries, is being hosted at the American Ramstein airbase by both U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The group, said the U.S. Pentagon, is “instrumental in identifying, synchronizing and ensuring delivery of the military capabilities the Ukrainians need to defend their homeland against Russian aggression.”

The U.S. alone sent almost $23 billion in military assistance last year, according to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, with an additional $25 billion in humanitarian and financial support.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov reacted to the post matter-of-factly.

“This is in full accordance with our nuclear doctrine,” he said. “Read the nuclear doctrine, there are no contradictions there.”

This is not the first time Medvedev has talked or hinted about Russian use of weapons of mass destruction.

In January, he said, “The main gift of the New Year was the arsenal of Zircon missiles that went yesterday to the shores of NATO countries.” These hypersonic missiles are capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Last November, he posted to Telegram that “Russia, for obvious reasons, has not yet used its entire arsenal of possible weapons, equipment and munitions.”

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Two months earlier, he said, “”I have to remind you again – for those deaf ears who hear only themselves. Russia has the right to use nuclear weapons if necessary.”

He then added, “I believe that NATO would not directly interfere in the conflict even in this scenario. The demagogues across the ocean and in Europe are not going to die in a nuclear apocalypse.”

Medvedev can be seen as Putin’s mouthpiece, considering the closeness between the two, who bounced the two most important positions in Russia between them for years. After eight years as president, Putin legally had to leave the office in 2008, and turned it over to Medvedev while he became the prime minister.

Four years later, in 2012, they exchanged places and Medvedev served as prime minister until 2020. In early 2021, Russia’s parliament changed the country’s law on term limits to enable Putin to remain the president, and he has done so, with no challenger in sight.