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Russian ex-president threatens nuclear strike if Ukraine liberates occupied territories

by The Kyiv Independent news desk July 30, 2023 8:30 PM 1 min read
Ukrainian soldiers train on a Leopard battle tank in May, 2023. (Photo by Serhii Mykhalchuk/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
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Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council, claimed on July 30 that Russia would have to use nuclear weapons if Ukraine liberates occupied territories.

"If we imagine that the NATO-backed Ukrainian Banderites' offensive is successful and they seize part of our territory, we would have to use nuclear weapons, based on the presidential decree issued on June 2, 2020," Medvedev, who is also a former president of Russia, said in a reference to the potential liberation of Ukrainian territories illegally annexed by Russia. "We won't have any other choice."

On Sept. 30 last year, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin announced that Russia would annex Ukraine's four oblasts – Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kherson – after sham referendums in the occupied parts of these regions took place.  

Medvedev also congratulated his country with Navy Day, mentioning Russia's Poseidon nuclear-powered unmanned underwater vehicle. The underwater drone is believed to be capable of carrying a 100-megaton nuclear warhead.

Medvedev, a close ally of Putin, used to be seen as a more liberal representative of the Kremlin but has become one of Russia's most prominent hawks during the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

He regularly threatens Ukraine and NATO with a nuclear attack. However, he has become an object of ridicule since his numerous threats have failed to materialize.

In January, Medvedev said a potential defeat of Russia in war against Ukraine "may trigger a nuclear war," adding that "nuclear powers have never lost major conflicts on which their fate depends."

In May he said that, by sending weapons and training Ukrainian soldiers, NATO "increases the likelihood of a direct and open conflict between NATO and Russia."

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