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No one wants war but ‘nuclear threat’ always exists, says Russia’s Medvedev

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) listens to then-Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev during the State Council meeting on the agricultural policy at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on December 26, 2019. (File photo by AP )

Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev has said that the threat of a nuclear conflict always exists, even though no one wants war.

“No one wants any war, much less a nuclear war, which is a threat to the very existence of human civilization,” Medvedev told Sputnik, responding to a question about a possible nuclear conflict or a war between Russia and NATO.

He said he sided with those analysts who say the development of nuclear weapons has prevented a huge number of conflicts in the 20th and 21st centuries.

“[They] are right. This is true. In fact, it is what it did,” he noted.

However, he cautioned that the threat of a nuclear war is not completely ruled out: “So it is obvious that the threat always exists.”

Noting that NATO’s nuclear weapons are targeted at Russian facilities, he said the current crisis is worse than during the Cold War, because Russia’s counterparts at that time were not trying to bring the situation to a boiling point, they did not impose sanctions on industries, agriculture, and individuals.

Russia has already declared that it will only use nuclear weapons if its very existence was threatened by the West.

“We have a concept of domestic security and it’s public, you can read all the reasons for nuclear arms to be used. So if it is an existential threat for our country, then it (the nuclear arsenal) can be used in accordance with our concept,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said last Tuesday.

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Western countries, led by the United States, have slapped increasingly tough sanctions on Russia in the aftermath of the Russian offensive on Ukraine, which was launched a month ago.

Announcing what he called the “special military operation” on February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the military campaign aimed to demilitarize and “de-Nazify” Ukraine.

Delegations from Kiev and Moscow have been negotiating for peace and ceasefire in recent weeks, but apparently, no breakthrough has been achieved so far.

Medvedev said if the Russian leadership had taken an irresponsible stance, it would have withdrawn from the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, as the people who signed it are now on the West's sanctions list.

“You cannot step into the same river twice. I had nothing to do with the government in 1998, and I perceived it from the perspective of a person from the civilian world, if you like, from the business world. But our society, our country was also much less protected then,” Medvedev hastened to add, answering a question on whether a financial meltdown in Russia could happen again.

Citing a French minister, he said everything that is happening now is just an economic war declared on Russia that will lead to the destruction of the entire global economic order.

“They have declared an economic war on Russia. And they are trying to wage this war without any rules.”

“They are seizing assets of financial institutions and even of the [Russian] Central Bank, and are even talking about foreclosing these assets, about nationalizing them in other words. Well, look, this is a war without rules. What will be the consequences of this war - the destruction of the entire world economic order,” Medvedev said.

Warning of a symmetrical response, Medvedev said: “Russia cannot rely on anyone while Western sanctions are imposed, therefore the nation’s authorities themselves need to solve issues concerning industry and other areas.”

The ex-president also said Russia could not be excluded from the G20 because this format was created by the consensus.

He stated: “We created G20 in 2008. They say: ‘Let’s exclude Russia from G20!’ But I remember how it was born before my eyes, these decisions were made together.”

“Everyone was happy to have representatives of such different countries sitting around the same table: Russia, the United States, China, and India. And this was a format created by the consensus, by the unanimity. And now they tell us: 'Let's exclude.' No, guys, you cannot do that,” Medvedev added.

On Friday, Medvedev was quoted as saying that it was “foolish” to believe that Western sanctions against Russian businesses could have any effect on Moscow.

“The sanctions will only consolidate Russian society and not cause popular discontent with the authorities,” he asserted.  

“Let us ask ourselves: can any of these major businessmen have even the tiniest quantum of influence of the position of the country’s leadership?” Medvedev added. “I openly tell you: no, no way.”

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