- Russia’s former president said his country could use nuclear weapons if it loses in Ukraine.
- “Nuclear powers do not lose major conflicts on which their fate depends,” Dmitry Medvedev said.
- His comments came one day before Ukraine’s allies meet to discuss giving it further military aid.
Russia’s former president, Dmitry Medvedev, said on Thursday that Russia could resort to using nuclear weapons if it is defeated in Ukraine.
“The loss of a nuclear power in a conventional war can provoke the outbreak of a nuclear war. Nuclear powers do not lose major conflicts on which their fate depends,” he said, according to a translation by CNN.
Medvedev also added, pointedly: “This should be obvious to anyone. Even to a Western politician who has retained at least some trace of intelligence.”
Medvedev, who is the currently deputy chairman of Russia’s security council, and has also served as the country’s prime minister, made his comments on the Telegram messaging app in advance of Western leaders meeting in Germany to pledge more military aid to Ukraine.
Medvedev has previously suggested that his country could use nuclear weapons. But Thursday’s comments came with the rare admission that Russia’s war in Ukraine is not going as planned, and could end in failure.
Despite expectations of an easy victory, Russia’s invasion has turned into a protracted and grinding conflict, with Ukrainian forces pushing the Russian army back in the east of the country in recent months.
At the same time, Russia has repeatedly threatened to escalate its attacks if Ukraine’s allies give further military support, but has so far not done so.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, as well as some of his officials, have, in the past, threatened the use of nuclear weapons. But those threats have cooled off in recent months, with experts saying at the time that Russia was likely bluffing.
Putin said in December that Russia would not use nuclear weapons unprovoked, adding that Russia had not “gone mad” and would not be the first country to use them, as the BBC reported.