Putin ally warns of nuclear dystopia over US

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev attend a meeting with members of the government in Moscow, Russia, January 15, 2020. Sputnik/Dmitriy Astakhov/Paul via Reuters/File photo

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LONDON (Reuters) – One of President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies warned the United States on Wednesday that the world could be headed toward a nuclear dystopia if Washington pressures what the Kremlin sees as a long-running plot to destroy Russia.

Dmitry Medvedev, who held the presidency from 2008 to 2012 and is now deputy secretary of the Russian Security Council, said the United States has plotted to destroy Russia as part of a “primitive game” since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

“This means that Russia must be humiliated, limited, smashed, divided and destroyed,” Medvedev, 56, said in a 550-word statement.

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The views of Medvedev, once considered one of the least hawkish members of Putin’s circle, give insight into thinking within the Kremlin as Moscow faces its biggest confrontation with the West since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.

The United States has repeatedly said that it does not want Russia to collapse and that its own interests are best served by a prosperous, stable and open Russia.

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside of normal business hours.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has killed thousands of people, displaced nearly ten million and raised fears of a broader confrontation between Russia and the United States – the world’s two largest nuclear powers.

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Putin says the operation was necessary because the United States was using Ukraine to threaten Russia, and Moscow had to defend the “genocide” of Russian speakers by Ukraine. Ukraine says Putin’s genocide allegations are nonsense.

Medvedev said the Kremlin would never allow Russia to be destroyed, but warned Washington that if it achieved what he described as its destructive goals, the world could face a miserable crisis ending in a “major nuclear explosion”.

He also painted a picture of the post-Putin world that would follow the collapse of Russia, which has more nuclear warheads than any other country.

Medvedev said that the destruction of the largest country in the world by area could lead to an unstable leadership in Moscow “with the maximum number of nuclear weapons aimed at targets in the United States and Europe.”

He said the collapse of Russia would lead to five or six nuclear-armed states across Eurasian territory run by “freaks, fanatics and extremists”.

“Is this a dystopia or crazy expectations of the future? Is it the pulp of fiction? No,” Medvedev said.

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(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge). Editing by John Boyle and Philippa Fletcher

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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