Russia can fight Ukraine war for ‘decades’, says Putin ally

·2 min read
Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council
Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council

Russia’s war will take decades and will not stop unless Ukraine surrenders, a top Russian official has predicted.

Western nations have warned Russia could use any ceasefire to rebuild its army and invade again. In comments appearing to corroborate this theory, Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council said after any armistice, Russia will fight Ukraine “all over again”.

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Mr Medvedev who has gained notoriety for squaring up to his opponents in the West with aggressive rhetoric, told Russian reporters while on a trip to Vietnam that Russians should brace themselves for prolonged hostilities.

“This conflict will take a long while - it’s probably here to stay for decades,” he said.

“This is a new reality, new conditions of life.”

When he launched the invasion last February, Vladimir Putin claimed it would be a limited military operation that would take weeks if not days to complete.

Unless the Kyiv government falls, Mr Medvedev said, “there will be three years of armistice, two years of a conflict - and then all of this all over again”. He reiterated the Kremlin’s trope about the “Nazi” regime in Kyiv and said he saw no room for talks while Volodymyr Zelensky was still in power.

'Inevitable rules of war'

Speaking in Vietnam earlier on Monday, the former Russian president also threatened to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine, prompting the defence ministry to give him a dressing down.

Warning the United States against handing over nuclear weapons to Kyiv, Mr Medvedev said: “If that happens, they will get a nuclear-capable missile flying at them: These are inevitable rules of war.”

Back in Moscow, a top Russian diplomat promptly reminded Mr Medvedev of a military doctrine that allows the Kremlin to use nuclear weapons only in response to a nuclear strike on its territory.

“There haven’t been any changes in our approach to this complex and worrying issue,” Sergei Ryabkov, a deputy foreign minister, said.

There are no reliable reports suggesting that any of the nuclear powers are considering sending some of its arsenal to Ukraine.

Earlier this week, Russia and Belarus signed an agreement, allowing Moscow to move and store some of its nuclear warheads in Belarus that borders on Ukraine and Poland.

The Kremlin insisted the deal does not violate Moscow’s commitment on non-proliferation.

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