July 13, 2024

Ex-president’s warning comes after Poland said Washington would hit Russian targets if Moscow were to use nukes in Ukraine

Any US attack on Russian targets in Ukraine would automatically trigger a world war, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has warned.

The official, who currently serves as Deputy Chair of Russia’s Security Council, made the remarks after Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski claimed Washington had threatened to conduct such a strike should Russia use nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Sunday, Medvedev suggested that Sikorski “apparently, has decided to scare his masters.” He noted that Washington, unlike Warsaw, has so far refrained from making any such threats publicly “because they are more cautious” than the Poles.

“Americans hitting our targets means starting a world war, and a Foreign Minister, even of a country like Poland, should understand that,” Medvedev added.

The former Russian president also cited remarks made by Polish President Andrzej Duda last month, when he said his country would be willing to host US nuclear weapons if offered such an opportunity under NATO’s sharing mechanism. Medvedev warned that in case of a nuclear confrontation “Warsaw won’t be left out, and will surely get its share of radioactive ash,” asking if this is the outcome the Polish leadership really wants.

On Saturday in an interview with the Guardian newspaper, Sikorski expressed skepticism regarding a hypothetical Russian nuclear strike in Ukraine.

“The Americans have told the Russians that if you explode a nuke, even if it doesn’t kill anybody, we will hit all your targets [positions] in Ukraine with conventional weapons, we’ll destroy all of them,” he claimed, describing the presumed warning as a “credible threat.” The Polish diplomat alleged that China and India have also warned Russia against a nuclear escalation.

The minister also suggested that Ukraine’s Western backers should allow Kiev to use their weapons to strike military targets on Russian territory as “apart from not using nuclear weapons, [Moscow] does not limit itself much.”

According to Sikorski, the EU should not be afraid to escalate the situation, and should not impose limits on itself regarding the Ukraine conflict, so that Moscow is left guessing what the next step will be.

While the US and its allies have on several occasions accused Moscow of nuclear saber-rattling, President Vladimir Putin insisted in March that at no point during the Ukraine conflict has Russia considered using such weapons. Around the same time, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stressed that Russia’s nuclear doctrine envisages the use of weapons of mass destruction only “if something threatens the existence of our country,” echoing a previous statement by the head of state. The official also described the deterrent as a “farewell weapon.”

During his annual address to the Federal Assembly in late February, Putin warned would-be aggressors that the nuclear arsenal was in a state of “complete readiness for guaranteed deployment.”

Earlier this month, the Russian leader ordered an exercise in the use of tactical nuclear weapons in the Southern Military District, which borders Ukraine. According to statements by the Foreign and Defense Ministries, the exercises were meant as a warning to the US and its allies, following escalatory rhetoric from the West.

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