Russia’s former president Dmitry Medvedev, who is a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, has warned NATO that Moscow’s defeat in Ukraine could trigger a nuclear war.
In a post on the Telegram messaging app on Thursday, Medvedev, who serves as deputy chairman of Putin’s powerful security council, said:
The defeat of a nuclear power in a conventional war may trigger a nuclear war.
Nuclear powers have never lost major conflicts on which their fate depends.
Medvedev (57), served as Russia’s president from 2008 to 2012 and once presented himself as a reformer who was ready to work with the United States to liberalise Russia.
The Kremlin was quick to endorse Medvedev’s remarks, saying they were in full accordance with Moscow’s principles.
Russia’s doctrine allows for a nuclear attack after “aggression against the Russian Federation with conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is threatened”.
Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, was quoted by the state news agency RIA as saying:
We pray to the Lord that he brings the madmen to reason and help them understand that any desire to destroy Russia will mean the end of the world.
Today is an alarming time. But we believe that the Lord will not leave Russian land.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022, Medvedev has repeatedly raised the threat of nuclear chaos and used insults to describe the West.
Russia and the United States hold about 90 percent of the world’s nuclear warheads.
According to the Federation of American Scientists, Russia has 5,977 nuclear warheads while the United States has 5,428, China 350, France 290 and the United Kingdom 225. | Al Jazeera