On the evening of February 24th, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a war in Ukraine under the pretext of ‘demilitarizing’ and ‘cleansing’ Ukraine of neo-Nazis. 5 months into the war, Russian forces targeted a shopping mall yesterday, killing 18 people in an explosion. Former Russian President Medvedev said that any attempt by a NATO country to violate Crimea’s status would be a declaration of war on Russia and would lead to World War III.
Russia’s attacks on Ukraine have been going on for 5 months. Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council and former President Dmitry Medvedev said that Ukraine has repeatedly expressed its desire to retake Crimea and in response Western countries have taken a position in favor of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
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Stating that Russia would respond directly to such an attempt, Medvedev said, “Crimea is a part of Russia for us. To lay a hand on Crimea is a declaration of war against our country. If a NATO country does this, it would mean World War III with the entire North Atlantic alliance. It would be a catastrophe,” he said.
THREAT TO FINLAND AND SWEDEN
Speaking about the risks that Ukraine, Finland and Sweden’s possible accession to NATO would pose for them, Medvedev said: “For us, Ukraine’s accession to NATO is much more dangerous than Finland and Sweden’s accession. We had good relations with these countries in the past. We have no territorial disputes at the moment. However, Sweden and Finland are our neighbors close to our territory. We will take retaliatory measures against such a situation. We will have to strengthen these borders. The non-nuclear status of the Baltic will be a thing of the past. Our ground troops and navy will be increased in the northern directions. It is not a good prospect for our Iskander hypersonic missiles and nuclear-armed warships to be on the doorstep of their own homes,” he said, threatening the 2 countries applying to join NATO.
LITHUANIA WILL BE HELD RESPONSIBLE
Responding to the statements of Latvia’s former Interior Minister Maris Gulbis that Europe and NATO are ready to take Kaliningrad, Russia’s only territory on the European continent, from Russia, Medvedev said, “It seems that he has drunk something harmful” and made sarcastic remarks about his interlocutor. Medvedev also reacted against Lithuania for restricting rail transportation from Kaliningrad to Russia, stating that Lithuania would be directly responsible for this decision.