Russian ex-president and deputy head of security council Dmitry Medvedev says Moscow can strike an enemy country with nuclear weapons even if it does not use such weapons first.
In an interview, Medvedev lays out Russia’s nuclear doctrine.
“We have a special document on nuclear deterrence. This document clearly indicates the grounds on which the Russian Federation is entitled to use nuclear weapons,” The Guardian quotes him as saying in the interview.
“Number one is the situation when Russia is struck by a nuclear missile. The second case is any use of other nuclear weapons against Russia or its allies. The third is an attack on a critical infrastructure that will have paralyzed our nuclear deterrent forces,” Medvedev says.
“And the fourth case is when an act of aggression is committed against Russia and its allies, which jeopardized the existence of the country itself, even without the use of nuclear weapons, that is, with the use of conventional weapons,” he adds.
These comments prompted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to warn of Russia’s nuclear weapons during a surprise appearance at Qatar’s Doha Forum.
“Russia is deliberating bragging they can destroy with nuclear weapons, not only a certain country, but the entire planet,” Zelensky says.
On February 27, three days after the start of the invasion, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his defense chiefs to put the country’s nuclear forces on high alert in a highly choreographed meeting in front of TV cameras.
Russia has the largest number of nuclear warheads of any country, according to the SIPRI peace research institute in Stockholm, which puts the figure at 6,255.