He wrote on the messaging service Telegram: "Since our military capabilities are incomparable, we will simply have no choice. The response will be asymmetrical. To protect the territorial integrity of our country, ballistic and cruise missiles with special warheads will be used... This will be the proverbial Apocalypse. The end of everything."
This is not the first time that Medvedev, who currently serves as the deputy chairman for Russia's Security Council, has threatened to use nuclear weapons. On this occasion, the remarks came in response to recent reports that a few European leaders have been instructing their populations to get ready for war.
For example, the Swedish Civil Defense Minister recently warned citizens to prepare for war in the face of ongoing Russian aggression. He said the world is currently facing more risks of war than any time since the end of World War II.
The head of the British army, Gen. Patrick Sanders, said last month that U.K. civilians should be prepared to fight in a potential land war and noted the British military was not big enough to respond properly to evolving threats. He suggested a citizen army could make a difference in such a scenario.
Medvedev said that these instances of leaders of NATO-aligned countries accusing Russia of looking for a wider war are “dangerous drivel” and nothing more than an attempt to attract more support for sending additional weapons and aid to Kiev.
He also accused these countries of trying to shift the blame away from problems at home to the situation between Ukraine and Russia.
Last month, he issued a similar threat after noting that Ukrainian military commanders were planning to hit missile launch sites in Russia using long-range missiles from Western nations.
"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," he said, referring to a part of the nuclear doctrine that says Russia could use nuclear weapons in certain conditions to respond to the use of conventional weapons “when the very existence of the state is put under threat.”
Although such a decision ultimately rests in the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin, some diplomats believe that Medvedev’s comments point to a very hawkish approach in the upper echelons of the Kremlin and a prevailing view on their part that the current conflict is an existential struggle with the West.
The remarks come at a time when security services in Ukraine have been ramping up their attack drone and missile attacks on oil refineries on Russian soil. Russia has accused NATO and Western intelligence services of helping these attacks. It has also accused France of enlisting mercenaries to carry out attacks in Belgorod Oblast. Many observers fear that this type of proxy war could eventually transition to a direct war between Russia and NATO countries.
The Russian Ministry of Education reportedly told the media that high school students in Russia will learn more about nuclear war as part of the country’s national curriculum, including protecting against the effects of weapons of mass destruction.
Russia and the U.S. are currently the biggest nuclear powers in the world, with the Federation of American Scientists reporting that Putin controls 5,889 nuclear warheads versus the 5,244 nuclear warheads under the control of President Joe Biden.
Sources for this article include: