Dmitry Medvedev, one of Putin’s closest associates, warns of a conflict between Russia and NATO in the face of military aid to Ukraine. “Such a conflict always carries the risk of ending in a full-scale nuclear war,” Russia’s ex-president, who is Putin’s deputy at the head of the Russian Security Council, told Telegram. “NATO countries pumping arms into Ukraine, training troops to use Western equipment, sending mercenaries, and Allied exercises near our borders increase the likelihood of direct and open conflict between NATO and Russia.”
Similar words came from Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Thursday: Moscow will stand ready to respond with force if any side dares to interfere in Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine. “First of all, we proceed from the statements made by the President since February 24 that Russia will be ready to give the most decisive answer to those who somehow try to invade Ukraine and interfere in the special military operation, which is currently being carried out by the Russian Armed Forces,” emphasizes the Russian Presidential Spokesman.
On the question of a possible direct clash between Russia and NATO, the Kremlin spokesman said: “Everyone wants to avoid this scenario. Both Russia and NATO, and especially Washington, have repeatedly spoken out in this vein, including at the highest level.”
Russia and the US are by far the largest nuclear powers. Russia has about 6,257 nuclear warheads, while NATO’s three nuclear powers — the US, Britain and France — combined have about 6,065 warheads, according to the Washington-based Arms Control Association.