One of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s top allies is subtly threatening nuclear war with the West if Moscow is not successful in its invasion of Ukraine.
Dmitry Medvedev, former President of Russia and current Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia, said that a defeat of Russia in Ukraine may trigger a nuclear war in a Thursday Telegram post, according to Reuters. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, who has been a Putin ally, also said that an attempt to destroy Russia would mean the end of the world.
Dmitry Medvedev warns that Russia’s conventional defeat in Ukraine might trigger a nuclear war
Another example of how nuclear saber-rattling is a sign of weakness and insecurity from Russia not strength
— Samuel Ramani (@SamRamani2) January 19, 2023
“The defeat of a nuclear power in a conventional war may trigger a nuclear war,” Medvedev said Thursday. “Nuclear powers have never lost major conflicts on which their fate depends.”
He added that NATO leaders should think about the possible risks of their policy toward Ukraine and Russia.
Medvedev served as President of Russia from 2008 to 2012, while Putin served as Prime Minister. Medvedev was then Putin’s Prime Minister from 2012 until 2020.
The United States and its allies and partners have provided tens of billions of dollars in humanitarian aid and military assistance to Ukraine since Russia invaded last February. However, the Biden administration has strictly cautioned Ukraine not to use U.S.-supplied weaponry for strikes inside of Russia, and the U.S. has stressed that it is interested only in the defense of Ukraine, not the conquest of Russia.
Still, influential figures in and around Moscow are casting the conflict as an existential battle between Russia and NATO. (RELATED: Coast Guard Says It’s Tracking Russian Spy Vessel Off Hawaiian Coast)
“Today is an alarming time,” Kirill said, according to state news agency RIA. “We pray to the Lord that he bring the madmen to reason and help them understand that any desire to destroy Russia will mean the end of the world.”
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov added that he hopes talks this week amongst NATO defense ministers will lead them to “sober up” on their assistance to Ukraine.