Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Friday described Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine as a sacred conflict with Satan and warned that his country was capable of sending “all our enemies to fiery Gehenna.”
Medvedev, who is now deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, appeared to be using a version of the Hebrew word for hell in his speech to mark Russia’s Day of National Unity.
The former president said Russia’s task in the invasion was to “stop the supreme ruler of hell, whatever name he uses — Satan, Lucifer or Iblis,” according to quotes run by the Reuters news agency.
He added that Russia was fighting “crazy Nazi drug addicts” in Ukraine who are backed by Westerners with “saliva running down their chins from degeneracy.”
Medvedev, who served as president from 2008 to 2012, once characterized himself as a liberal modernizer of Russia, but has been issuing scathing diatribes since against Russia’s perceived enemies since the start of the war.
Separately on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin called on civilians to be taken out of Moscow-occupied Kherson in southern Ukraine, where Russian forces have been leading evacuations since mid-October as Kyiv’s forces advance.
“Those who live in Kherson should be removed from zones of dangerous fighting,” the Russian president told young volunteers from the occupied Ukrainian territories on Red Square as Moscow celebrated Unity Day.
“The civilian population should not suffer from shelling, an offensive, a counter-offensive or other such things,” he said.
The Russian army later said it was evacuating “more than 5,000 civilians” from the Kherson region each day.
Putin was speaking to volunteers involved in helping people leave Kherson, in remarks made after laying flowers at a monument honoring those who fought off a Polish invasion in 1612.
He said Moscow had mobilized 318,000 recruits since he announced a military call-up in September, which has since been completed.
That exceeded his target of 300,000 because “volunteers keep coming,” he claimed, amid widespread reports of forced drafting.
The Kremlin chief said he wanted to restore historical monuments in the occupied territories so that those “who lived under crazy, idiotic propaganda for 30 years” would know “where their ancestors came from.”