Putin ally: Nuclear threat 'certainly not a bluff'

Putin ally warns nuclear threat is ‘certainly not a bluff’ amid fears the president will declare invaded Ukrainian territories are part of Russia within DAYS as voting in sham referendums comes to an end

  • Former president Dmitri Medvedev said Russia is ‘not bluffing’ in nuclear threats 
  • The MoD predicts Putin could announce annexation of Ukrainian land on Friday 
  • It is feared that this could provide basis for Russia to use nuclear weapons 
  • Medvedev called Western bluff over threat of ‘catastrophic consequences’ 

One of Vladimir Putin’s attack dogs has been rattling the nuclear sabre once again as he declared that his master is not bluffing, even as the Russian strongman prepares to announce the annexation of Ukrainian territories.

Dmitri Medvedev, a former Russian president, said in a now customary rant on the Telegram messaging app that Russia has the right to use nuclear weapons ‘if the use of conventional weapons threatens the very existence of our state.’

‘And it is certainly not a bluff,’ he added. 

The ominous threat comes as the British Ministry of Defence assessed as a ‘realistic possibility’ that Putin might announce the annexation of sovereign Ukrainian regions on Friday Sept 30 after the occupiers held sham referenda there.

Referenda held in the regions of Russia-controlled Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson are due to conclude today, with it assumed that the democratic charade will result in the regions ‘voting’ to join Russia.

The hasty move to incorporate Ukrainian territory into Russia proper gives rise to the fear that Putin will claim integral Russian land is under threat if and when Ukraine moves to liberate it, justifying the use of nuclear weapons according to Russia’s nuclear doctrine. 

Former Russian President Dmitri Medvedev (right, with Putin, left) has reiterated Putin’s threats to use nuclear weapons, saying it is ‘certainly not a bluff’

The threat comes as Russia is thought to be preparing to announce the annexation Russia-controlled Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson on Friday

The hasty move to incorporate Ukrainian territory into Russia proper gives rise to the fear that Putin will claim integral Russian land is under threat if and when Ukraine moves to liberate it, justifying the use of nuclear weapons in ‘self-defence’

Votes held in four areas currently under Russian control – Donetsk and Luhansk, which together make up the Donbas, as well as Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, are set to conclude today

The latest threat of nuclear annihilation follows on from Putin’s bluster during a televised address broadcast last week when he announced a partial mobilisation of Russian men. 

During the speech, he raised the spectre of a nuclear strike if he deemed the ‘territorial integrity’ of Russia to be under threat. 

The Kremlin is clearly fearful of a well-train and battle-hardened Ukrainian army, fresh with modern Western weapons, moving to liberate the stolen territories and sweeping the Russian army out of its homeland. 

Medvedev was dismissive of Western warnings of ‘catastrophic consequences for Russia’ if they used nuclear weapons on the battlefield in Ukraine and indicated he thought they were bluffs. 

‘I believe that NATO will not directly intervene in the conflict even in this situation. After all, the security of Washington, London, and Brussels is much more important for the North Atlantic Alliance than the fate of the perishing Ukraine, which no one needs, even if it is abundantly supplied with various weapons,’ he wrote.

‘Biden and Truss, spraying Atlantic saliva, demand that Russia remove its hand from its ”nuclear button.” 

‘Together, they constantly threaten us with ”terrifying” consequences if Russia uses nuclear weapons. 

‘And the London aunt [Truss], young in mind, is completely ready to immediately begin an exchange of nuclear strikes with our country.’  

People from Luhansk and Donetsk regions, the territory controlled by a pro-Russia separatist governments, who live in Crimea, vote during a referendum in Sevastopol, Crimea, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022

People line up to vote in a referendum in Luhansk, Luhansk People’s Republic controlled by Russia-backed separatists, eastern Ukraine, Sept. 24, 2022

The moves to mobilise the Russian population and rush through sham referenda in the occupied regions are seen as desperate ploys by analysts, prompted by public misgivings from Putin’s key allies of India, China and Turkey at a summit two weeks ago. 

The announcement of the partial mobilisation has seen thousands of men called up to fight in the Russian army, along with chaotic scenes of Russians streaming out of the country, protests in the regions and unruly drinking and brawling by fresh conscripts. 

‘Russia’s leaders almost certainly hope that any accession announcement will be seen as a vindication of the ‘special military operation’ and will consolidate patriotic support for the conflict,’ the British MoD wrote in their daily briefing. 

‘This aspiration will likely be undermined by the increasing domestic awareness of Russia’s recent battlefield set-backs and significant unease about the partial mobilisation last week.’

The UK government condemned the sham referenda ‘held at the barrel of a gun’ and said they will never recognise the results.

Armed police went door-to-door to canvas votes while gun-toting mercenaries guarded polling stations during sham referendums in occupied Ukraine. 

But, just to make extra sure, Kremlin officials, military police and hired guns kept a careful eye over the process – with Ukrainian politicians reporting that they were kicking front doors in to force people to cast their ballots.

Belarusian president Lukashenko (L) – who needed Putin’s help to crush a pro-Western democratic movement in his country in 2020 – assured the Kremlin leader he would win his war in Ukraine

Alexander Lukashenko (R) shakes hands with Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Sochi, Russia

Serhiy Haidai, governor of occupied Luhansk, said some towns under Russian occupation have been entirely sealed off to ensure people vote – with any crosses in the ‘no’ column recorded in a ‘notebook’.

Meanwhile state media has reported an unfeasibly high 97 per cent of people in two of those regions – Donetsk and Luhansk – are in favour of joining Russia. 

Ballot boxes have also been opened across Russia itself, ostensibly to allow displaced Ukrainians to vote, but in reality offer more opportunities for vote rigging. 

Meanwhile, the call for mobilisation has proved wildly unpopular, with hundreds of thousands of Russian men having already fled the country to avoid the call up. 

Outbound flights from Russia are completely sold out, and traffic jams leading to Russia’s borders are so big they can be seen from space.

Anti-war protests have erupted across the country, and Russian media reported an increasing number of arson attacks on military enlistment offices. Yesterday, an enlistment officer was shot at almost point blank range by a man who refused to be drafted.

And to compound Putin’s discomfort, he was forced to endure a bizarre lecture on people fleeing his rule from fellow autocrat Alexander Lukashenko today.

The Belarusian president – who needed Putin’s help to crush a pro-Western democratic movement in his country in 2020 – assured the Kremlin leader he would win his war in Ukraine, despite the growing unrest over his decision to mobilise 300,000 new troops.

The Kremlin chief looked hunched and uncomfortable, saying little during the meeting in Sochi as Russians continue to protest his mobilisation edict or flee abroad to avoid being drafted.  

One Telegram video appeared to show a Russian recruit passed out in the grass by the runway as his comrades stumbled towards a waiting plane

Multiple videos appear to show young Russian men drinking heavily as they are shipped off to war, suggesting that morale problems in the military are unlikely to improve as they arrive on the frontlines

‘Our course is right, our cause is right,’ Lukashenko told Putin, bringing a rare smile to the Russian warmonger’s lips.

‘We will win. We have no other choice. We, as Slavs, would not tolerate humiliation,’ Lukashenko told him.

But videos that emerged of the mobilisation and call-up process have been entirely humiliating for the Russian dictator. 

They show reluctant conscripts at recruitment offices and staging points hitting the bottle and drinking themselves senseless as military commanders try to coral them into order before boarding buses and planes. 

In what is rapidly becoming a popular subgenre of Russian war videos, multiple clips depict Russian recruits getting hammered as they prepare to ship out for two weeks of basic training before being thrown onto the front lines.

One video shows a Russian conscript passed out in the grass near a runway while others stumble towards the plane, while in another a drunken group try to have a punch up as the bus waits for them.

‘Shut your mouths! Why are you all yelling?’ a recruitment officer bawls at the new arrivals in yet another video. 

‘Why are YOU yelling?’ comes a reply.

‘Stop yelling, let him speak,’ another recruit says.

‘That’s it! Games over! You’re all military now!’ the officer shouts. 

While the partial mobilisation is supposed to only call up Russian men with military experience, raising 300,000 fresh troops, the age profile and the sheer numbers of men indicate the draft could actually be vastly larger.      

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