A close ally of Vladimir Putin has warned Russia that it could use nuclear weapons on the battlefield to cling to territory it has expropriated from Ukraine.
Dmitry Medvedev – a former president of Russia – gave the chilling warning after Putin’s televised rant threatening the West with nuclear weapons.
Parts of Ukraine occupied by Moscow’s forces after the invasion in February and back in 2014 are holding referendums on unification with Russia.
The votes in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia provinces, as well as parts of Mykolayiv province, are widely viewed as a sham and are intended to produce the result Putin wants.
If they join Russia, they are entitled to protection from Russian nuclear weapons, Medvedev said.
“All Russian weapons, including strategic nuclear weapons and weapons based on new principles, could be used for such protection,” he said, possibly referring to hypersonic missiles.
Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said “there is no turning back” when it comes to the referendums.
“The Donbas republics and other territories will be included in Russia,” he said.
Known as Putin’s “yes man,” 56-year-old Medvedev used to be seen as more dovish than the Russian leader, though he has adopted an increasingly hardline stance in recent years.
Ever since the war turned against Putin, there have been fears that he could order the use of tactical nuclear weapons designed for use on the battlefield rather than destroying cities.
Although they have a lower yield than strategic nuclear weapons, they can still inflict devastating casualties on an enemy.
Nuclear weapons on the battlefield are commonly carried in bombs, artillery shells, and smaller missiles.
Ukraine’s top general recently warned that there was a “direct threat” that Putin could order their deployment to turn the tide of the war.
General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi said that such an order could then bring us to the brink of WW3.
And former NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller said Putin could order a “demonstrative nuclear strike.”
That would take the form of “either a single strike over the Black Sea or a strike at a Ukrainian military facility.”
Retired British General Sir Richard Barrons also warned that the Russian tyrant would “likely” use tactical nuclear weapons if pushed back into Ukraine.
Earlier this week, Putin fired a dire nuclear warning to Britain and the West as he forcibly inducted 300,000 reservists into his disastrous war in Ukraine.
Analysts say he expects the West to blink at its nuclear threat – and not back a Ukrainian attack to retake the “liberated territories” it stole.
“Our country has various means of defense and some components are more advanced than those of the NATO countries,” Putin complained.
“If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will use all means at our disposal to defend Russia and our people. This is not a bluff.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6281527/putin-medvedev-warns-russia-battlefield-ukraine-territory/ Putin chief Medvedev warns Russia against using nuclear weapons on the battlefield in a desperate attempt to cling to Ukraine’s annexed territory