Only Russia’s nuclear arms preventing West from declaring war

By David Linggren

(Reuters) – Russia’s nuclear arsenal and the rules Moscow has set for its use are the only factors keeping the West at bay since the war began, a senior ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an article published on Sunday. It stops against Russia.

Former President Dmitry Medvedev, now deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, also said Moscow would continue its war in Ukraine until the “disgusting and almost fascist regime” in Kyiv is toppled and the country completely demilitarized.

In a separate interview on Sunday, Putin said Russia was ready to negotiate with all parties to the war, but said Kyiv and its Western backers had refused to participate in the talks.

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Medvedev, who once touted himself as a modernizing liberal as president from 2008 to 2012, is one of the war’s most vocal supporters. He regularly condemns the West, which he accuses of trying to tear Russia apart to benefit Ukraine.

“Is the West ready to launch an all-out war against us, including nuclear war, in the hands of Kyiv?” He wrote a 4,500-word article for the Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper.

The only thing stopping our enemies today is the realization that Russia is guided by the principles of state policy…in nuclear deterrence. And if there is a real threat, it will act against them.”

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Putin and other senior officials have repeatedly said that Russia’s policy on nuclear weapons dictates that they can be used if its territorial integrity is threatened.

According to experts, Russia has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world, with nearly 6,000 warheads.

Earlier this month, Putin said the risk of nuclear war was growing, but insisted Russia was “not crazy” and considered its nuclear arsenal a fully defensive deterrent.

“The Western world balances between the burning desire to humiliate, insult, dismember and destroy Russia as much as possible on the one hand, and the desire to avoid a nuclear apocalypse on the other hand,” Medvedev said.

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He said that if Russia does not get the security guarantees it needs, “the world will continue to be on the brink of World War III and nuclear catastrophe. We will do everything we can to prevent that.”

Medvedev also said Russia could forget about normal relations with the West for years and perhaps decades to come and focus instead on relations with the rest of the world.

(Reporting by David Leunggren; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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