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Reacting to the ‘unprecedented’ military aid package just reached between Kiev and the United Kingdom, and with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in the Ukrainian capital, the Kremlin has issued an urgent warning saying that any deployment of British troops to Ukraine as a “declaration of war.”
The alarming and blistering words came from former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev upon Sunak’s arrival in Kiev for the unveiling of the $3+ billion defense aid package. The new security agreement has outraged Moscow.
While there’s been nothing in the official security deal which indicates UK troop deployment inside the war-ravaged country, apparently things like deepened intelligence-sharing has been enough to raise Kremlin suspicions of Western ‘boots in the ground’ escalation.
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The deal “formalizes a range of support the UK has been and will continue to provide for Ukraine’s security, including intelligence sharing, cyber security, medical and military training, and defense industrial cooperation,” Downing Street had announced.
Medvedev posted his response to social media. Importantly, he currently serves as deputy chair of the Russian Security Council, and he said:
“What does this mean? It means only one thing – they risk running into the action of paragraph 19 of the fundamentals of Russia’s state policy in the field of nuclear deterrence,” Medvedev wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
“This should be remembered,” Medvedev said.
According to more of the context from Reuters, he said that “some Ukrainian military commanders were considering hitting missile launch sites inside Russia with Western-supplied long-range missiles.”
The follows the Russian Defense Ministry having previously claimed UK troops already have a presence on the ground in Ukraine, certainly at least in an ‘advisory’ role.
While ultimately only President Putin is the final decision-maker on deployment of Russian nukes, Medvedev’s threat was ominous and gained the West’s attention at a moment of multiple conflict flashpoints across the globe chiefly because of the following:
Paragraph nineteen of Russia’s 2020 nuclear doctrine sets out the conditions under which a Russian president would consider using a nuclear weapon: broadly as a response to an attack using nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction, or to the use of conventional weapons against Russia “when the very existence of the state is put under threat.”
Medvedev made specific mention of point “g” of paragraph nineteen which deals with the nuclear response to a conventional weapons attack.
Medvedev has resumed nuclear threats to Ukraine:— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) January 11, 2024
"Russia has used all kinds of weapons against Ukraine, "except for nuclear, so far," – Medvedev, deputy head of the Russian Security Council, said in the statement. pic.twitter.com/DMHk6Kb56R
Throughout the nearly two-year long war, former president Medvedev has been an outspoken hawk, engaging in nuclear saber-rattling on repeat occasions, especially when there’s an escalation perceived from Ukraine or its Western backers. Russia had previously positioned tactical nukes inside Belarus, which the West has seen as a significant escalation.