Putin ally warns NATO of risk of nuclear war

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One Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ally warned NATO on Thursday that a Russian defeat in Ukraine could trigger a nuclear war, while the head of the Russian Orthodox Church said the world would end if the West tried to destroy Russia.

Such apocalyptic rhetoric is aimed at preventing the US-led NATO military alliance from getting further involved in the war, on the eve of a meeting of Ukraine’s allies to discuss sending more weapons to Kiev.

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But the explicit acknowledgment that Russia could lose on the battlefield marked a rare moment of public doubt from a prominent member of Putin’s inner circle.

“The defeat of a nuclear power in a conventional war can trigger a nuclear war,” former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who serves as vice chairman of Putin’s powerful security council, said in a post on Telegram.

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“Nuclear powers have never lost major conflicts on which their fate depends,” said Medvedev, who was president from 2008 to 2012.

Striking a similar tone to what he described as an anxious moment for the country, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church said in a sermon to the epiphany that trying to destroy Russia would mean the end of the world.

Medvedev said NATO and other defense leaders, who are due to meet at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Friday to talk about strategy and support for the West’s attempt to defeat Russia in Ukraine, should Think about the risks of your policy.

Putin branded Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine an existential battle with an aggressive and arrogant West, and said Russia would use all available means to protect itself and its people.

alarm time

The Kremlin chief has sought in recent months to prepare the Russians for a much tougher battle, while promising a final victory in a war that Western leaders say they will never let him win.

The United States has denied Russian allegations that it wants to destroy Russia, while President Joe Biden has warned that a conflict between Russia and NATO could trigger World War III.

But Putin’s main allies say the tens of billions of dollars in US and European military assistance to Ukraine show that Russia is now at odds with NATO itself – the Cold War nightmare of Soviet and Western leaders.

Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, said in a sermon: “We pray to the Lord that he will bring the madmen to their senses and help them to understand that any desire to destroy Russia will mean the end of the world.”

“Today is an alarming time,” he said, according to state news agency RIA. “But we believe that the Lord will not leave the Russian land.”

Putin’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Minsk that Russia would do everything to ensure that NATO and European Union leaders get “sober” as soon as possible.

“I hope sobriety comes,” Lavrov said. “We will do everything to get our NATO and EU colleagues sober as soon as possible.”

Nuclear Doctrine

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 triggered one of the deadliest European conflicts since World War II, and the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

The United States and its allies have condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine as an imperial land grab, while Ukraine has pledged to fight until the last Russian soldier is expelled from its territory.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Medvedev has repeatedly raised the threat of nuclear war, but his admission now of the possibility of Russia’s defeat indicates Moscow’s level of concern over rising Western arms deliveries to Ukraine.

Russia and the United States, by far the biggest nuclear powers, possess about 90% of the world’s nuclear warheads.

Asked whether Medvedev’s comments meant Russia was taking the crisis to a new level, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “No, it absolutely does not.”

He said Medvedev’s comments were in line with Russia’s nuclear doctrine, which allows a nuclear strike after “aggression against the Russian Federation with conventional weapons, when the very existence of the state is threatened”.

Source: CNN Brasil

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