Ex-Russian president weighs in on use of nukes against Ukraine
NATO would not intervene if Moscow used nuclear weapons against Ukraine, Dmitry Medvedev has said, claiming that Kiev’s Western backers would be unwilling “to die in a nuclear apocalypse” for the country.
However, the former Russian president said it was highly unlikely that the conditions for warranting a nuclear response by Moscow would arise in Ukraine.
Medvedev made the comments as he discussed the hypothetical use of nuclear weapons by Russia on social media on Tuesday. He dismissed remarks by Western politicians, who have been warning Moscow against using nukes, as “diarrheic demagoguery.”
The conditions permitting the use of Russia’s nuclear arsenal are stated plainly and publicly in the country’s nuclear doctrine, Medvedev said. Moscow says it will only use its most deadly weapons if it or one of its allies is attacked with weapons of mass destruction or if its existence is at stake in a conventional conflict.
Hypothetically, if Ukraine were to pose a threat to Russia’s existence, Moscow could use nuclear weapons, he added, but the stakes would then be too high for third parties to get involved.
“I believe NATO would not intervene in the conflict even in this scenario. The safety of Washington, London, Brussels is more important for the Alliance than the fate of useless, perishing Ukraine,” Medvedev predicted.
“Sending modern arms to Ukraine is just a business with an extra seasoning of hatred towards us. Nothing more,” he said. “[American] and European demagogues would not die in a nuclear apocalypse. This is why they will swallow the use of any weapons in the ongoing conflict.”
The latest warnings against the use of nuclear weapons were led by US President Joe Biden following an address by Vladimir Putin last week, during which the Russian leader claimed Washington and its allies were seeking to partition Russia. He cautioned that Moscow would use all tools at its disposal to defend itself.
Medvedev, who currently serves as the deputy chair of Russia’s National Security Council, also warned that the country would not tolerate a nuclear-armed hostile neighbor.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky previously suggested that Kiev’s commitment not to have nuclear weapons could be withdrawn. The idea, which Zelensky voiced during a speech at the Munich Security Conference in mid-February, prompted a furious response from Moscow, which perceived the remarks as a serious threat to Russia.