former russian president Dmitry Medvedevwhich has at times raised the specter of a nuclear conflict over Ukraine, said on Sunday that Moscow would have to use a nuclear weapon if the current kyiv counteroffensive were to succeed.
Medvedev, what is Vice President of the Security Council of Russiabody chaired by the president Vladimir Putin, said in a message on his official social media accounts that Russia would be forced to resort to its own nuclear doctrine in such a scenario.
“Imagine if the … NATO-backed offensive were successful and they ripped off a part of our land, then we would be forced to use a nuclear weapon in accordance with the rules of a decree of the President of Russia. ”, he threatened. And he added: “There would simply be no other option. So our enemies should pray for the (success) of our warriors. They are making sure that a global nuclear fire is not ignited.”.
Medvedev, who has established himself as one of the most belligerent voices in Moscow, seemed to refer to a part of the Russian nuclear doctrine which states that nuclear weapons may be used in response to aggression against Russia carried out with conventional weapons that threatens the existence of the Russian state.
Ukraine is trying to recapture territory that Russia unilaterally annexed and declared part of its own territory, a move condemned by kyiv and much of the West.
Putin declared on Saturday that there had been no major changes on the battlefield in recent days and that Ukraine had lost large amounts of military hardware since June 4. kyiv says its forces are making some progress in their effort to recapture territory, albeit at a slower pace than desired.
Kremlin critics have in the past accused Medvedev of making extreme statements to discourage Western countries from continuing to supply Ukraine with weapons.
What is Russia’s nuclear arsenal like?
Although determining how many weapons Russia has is a difficult question to answer, the country is believed to have the largest armory in the worldfollowed by the United States.
All nuclear weapons figures are estimates, but according to the Federation of American ScientistsRussia has 5,977 nuclear warheadsthe devices that trigger a nuclear explosion, although this includes about 1,500 who are retired and ready to be dismantled. Other estimates speak of 6,375 warheads, compared to 5,800 in the US.
Of the approximately remaining 4,500most are considered strategic nuclear weapons, which are the longest-range missiles that can cross oceans and threaten rival superpowers. Experts estimate that about 1,500 Russian warheads are currently “deployed”, that is, located on missile and bomber bases or on submarines at sea.
the rest are tactical weapons, smaller and less destructive. Some are designed for use by the navy, some for use by the air force, and some for use by the military, either in short-range surface-to-surface missiles or surface-to-air air defenses, but they are not pre-deployed. . According to experts, these are the ones that Russia could at some point use the Ukraine.
US intelligence estimates that Russia has between 1,000 and 2,000 of this tactical weapons. For its part, after careful study, the Federation of American Scientists estimated 1912 tactical weaponsalthough he warned that this could include retired warheads.
(With information from Reuters)
Putin led a naval parade in Saint Petersburg and announced that the Russian Navy will add 30 new ships