The former president of Russia and current deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, warned on Thursday that if Russia loses its war with Ukraine, it might resort to using nuclear weapons.
Medvedev made his remarks on the eve of a meeting of Western allies with the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Friday. The meeting is expected to discuss whether Germany will send Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine for its defense.
“Tomorrow, at NATO’s Ramstein base, the great military leaders will discuss new tactics and strategies, as well as the supply of new heavy weapons and strike systems to Ukraine,” Medvedev wrote in a Telegram post. “And this was right after the forum in Davos, where underdeveloped political party-goers repeated like a mantra: ‘To achieve peace, Russia must lose.’”
“And it never occurs to any of the wretches to draw the following elementary conclusion from this: the loss of a nuclear power in a conventional war can provoke the outbreak of a nuclear war,” he continued. “That nuclear powers have not lost major conflicts on which their fate depends. But this should be obvious to anyone. Even a Western politician who has retained any trace of intelligence.”
Medvedev may be shooting to replace Putin if he dies or is forced from office; in late October, he visited Russia’s main tank plant in Nizhny Tagil, then asserted, “The production of weapons and special equipment of all types is increasing manyfold: from tanks and guns to high-precision missiles and drones. Brace yourself!”
He then threatened arms manufacturers who did not deliver missiles and tanks promptly for the war in Ukraine, snapping, “The goal has been set for a scrupulous execution of the government’s defense contracts in all of its key parameters, [and] prevention of disruptions in the supply of equipment. Attention has been drawn to the fact that all contractors could be held to account, including on criminal charges… Supervision over the execution will continue.”
On Thursday, Ukraine pushed for Western allies to quickly send tanks and air defenses to Kyiv; “We have no time, the world does not have this time,” Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, stated. “The question of tanks for Ukraine must be closed as soon as possible. Just like the questions of additional air defense systems. We are paying for the slowness with the lives of our Ukrainian people. … It shouldn’t be like that.”
Great Britain, France, and Poland have already pledged to send tanks to Ukraine.