Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warns of a “doomsday reaction” to the dispute over Crimea
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has warned that Ukraine and the West could face a “doomsday” reaction if they attempt to quarrel militarily Russia‘s control of Crimea.
Ukraine’s and western powers’ refusal to recognize Moscow’s ownership of the peninsula poses a “systemic threat” to Russia, the former president said yesterday, before declaring the Kremlin would retaliate with maximum force if the area was attacked.
“Judge Day comes very fast and hard. It will be very difficult to hide,” he announced, according to the Russian news agency TASS.
Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 after a pro-Moscow president invaded Kyiv was overthrown amid mass protests in the streets.
The Kremlin then also backed pro-Russian armed separatists in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, which its army has been helping its army seize Luhansk Oblast and much of Donetsk Oblast since the February 24 invasion.
Medvedev’s comments came a day after a Ukrainian official suggested that Crimea could be a target for US-made HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems) missiles, which have recently been deployed by Kyiv to great effect, while Ukrainian forces continue fight against Putin’s troops.
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (pictured) has warned Ukraine and the West of a “Judgment Day” response if they attempt to militarily challenge Russia’s control of Crimea
Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 after a pro-Moscow president was ousted amid mass street protests in Kyiv
Medvedev’s comments aired a day after a Ukrainian official hinted that Crimea, which most of the world still recognizes as part of Ukraine, could be a target for US-made HIMARS missiles (pictured).
Ukrainian troops direct the launch of an American-made HIMARS missile
Kiev’s armed forces have so far used HIMARS missiles to destroy Russian ammunition depots, warehouses and vehicles in key positions in occupied Ukraine
Earlier Sunday, the Interfax news agency quoted Medvedev – who is now deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council – as telling World War II veterans: “If any other state, be it Ukraine or NATO countries, believes that Crimea is not Russian , then this is a systemic threat to us.
“This is a direct and explicit threat, especially given what happened in Crimea. Crimea returned to Russia.’
Medvedev did not elaborate on his comments, but has previously employed Moscow’s tried-and-tested nuclear swashbuckling tactic, warning the US and other Western nations of the dangers of trying to punish a nuclear power.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy yesterday afternoon condemned Medvedev’s doomsday comments as “intimidation” and said it was Russia that would eventually face a final judgment, “not figuratively, not so loudly, but literally”.
Medvedev was Russia’s president for four years, from 2008 to 2012, but there is little doubt that he acted as a puppet frontman while the government was essentially run by Putin, who held the position of prime minister.
The former president has previously said that Russian forces will continue fighting until they achieve their stated goal of “denazification” and “demilitarization” of Ukraine.
He predicted that the conflict under the weight of the Russian offensive would “undoubtedly lead to the collapse of the existing regime” in Kyiv.
Medvedev’s comments on the doomsday came a day after Vadym Skibitskyi, an official with Ukraine’s military intelligence service, was asked whether US-made HIMARS missiles could be used on targets in Crimea.
He said Russia has launched attacks on Ukrainian territory from Crimea and the Black Sea, arguing that these positions are therefore legitimate targets.
Crimea is of particular strategic importance to Russia as it includes the headquarters of its Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol.
Medvedev (L) served as Russian President for four years from 2008 to 2012, but there is little doubt that he acted as a puppet frontman while the government was essentially run by Putin (R), who held the post of President during Medvedev’s tenure Prime Minister’s Office
US-made HIMARS systems are being used by Ukraine (pictured) to attack Russian command posts and ammunition depots deep behind the front lines
Twelve Russian officers, including a general, were reportedly killed recently after Ukraine used HIMARS missiles to attack a command post and ammunition depot near Kherson (pictured).
US-supplied HIMARS missiles have been used to great effect by Ukrainian forces since their delivery last month after Kyiv said it needed the weapons to level the playing field with Russian batteries in Donbass.
The systems are in demand for their ability to deliver precision strikes over long distances – more than double the range of the howitzers that the West has already sent.
Kiev’s armed forces have so far used HIMARS missiles to destroy Russian ammunition depots, warehouses and vehicles in key positions in occupied southern and eastern regions of Ukraine.
The system is capable of launching multiple precision-guided missiles that could effectively evade Russian missile defense systems, allowing Ukrainian Armed Forces to cause significant damage to infrastructure and Russian military equipment.
A senior US military official said in a statement at the Pentagon last week: “Although [Ukrainian forces] don’t shoot the HIMARS to the front line, they have a very, very significant effect.
“Ukrainians talked about a number of goals [they] hit…they spend a lot of time hitting targets like ammo, supplies, other logistical supplies, command and control. And all of these things have a direct impact on [Russia’s] Ability to conduct frontline operations.’