Russian President Vladimir Putin Dmitry Medvedev prior to a meeting with Cabinet members at the Government's headquarters in Moscow, Russia, 15 January 2020. EFE-EPA/DMITRY ASTAKHOV / SPUTNIK / GOVERNMENT PRESS SERVICE POOL MANDATORY CREDIT[MANDATORY CREDIT]

Russian security chief warns of nuclear attack if Ukraine gets atomic weapons

Moscow, May 26 (EFE).- Russia’s top security official Dmitry Medvedev has warned of a possible pre-emptive nuclear attack if the United States or its Western allies supply atomic weapons to Ukraine.

Medvedev, the deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council chaired by President Vladimir Putin, said the West had failed to realize that the confrontation between Russia and NATO nations might lead to a pre-emptive nuclear strike.

“There are some irreversible rules of war. If it comes to (deliveries of) nuclear weapons (to Ukraine), a pre-emptive strike will have to be carried out,” he was quoted as saying by the TASS news agency.

He added that NATO countries were expanding the types of weapons they send to Ukraine and that “the Kiev regime will probably be given (F-16) planes” and “maybe nuclear weapons.”

“It will, under certain circumstances,” Medvedev said, wondering why the West believed it would not happen.

Medvedev said it was quite possible that the government in Kyiv “receives warplanes” and “maybe even nuclear weapons,” listing weapons and military equipment that NATO countries are sending to Ukraine.

“But it will mean that a missile with a nuclear warhead will come flying to them,” said Medvedev, who was Russian president between 2008 and 2012.

He accused the United States of operating “largely within the field of its pragmatic interests.”

“They do not wage a war, they are making money instead. They are trying to eliminate their centuries-long enemy,” Medvedev said.

“As far as Europe is concerned, it is a strange story for me. They keep heating up tensions with their decisions,” he said. “Europe has gone mad.”

His remarks came after Belarus President Alexandr Lukashenko Thursday announced the transfer of Russian tactical nuclear weapons to his country, a neighbor of Ukraine.

Lukashenko refused to specify the number of nuclear warheads his country would host.

“I am not going to reveal the number and its location. We have agreed to the deployment of nuclear weapons,” he said.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stressed that deploying tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus did not mean their delivery to the allied country.

“Russia does not transfer nuclear weapons to Belarus. Control over them and the decision to use them remains with the Russian side,” Shoigu said. EFE