Medvedev Says Russia Is Willing to Defend Itself With Nuclear Weapons

Biden downplayed the risk of nuclear war after Putin announced the suspension of New START

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned Wednesday that Russia is willing to defend itself by any means, including by using nuclear weapons.

“It is obvious to all the powers that be that if the US wants to defeat Russia, we are heading for a conflict on a global scale. If the US wants to defeat Russia, we have the right to defend ourselves with any weapon, including of the nuclear kind,” Medvedev wrote on Telegram, according to the Russian news agency TASS.

Medvedev, who currently serves as the deputy of the Russian Security Council, has made similar comments throughout the war. But his latest warning came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced he was suspending Russia’s participation in New START, the last nuclear arms control treaty between the US and Russia.

Medvedev said Putin’s move was “long overdue” due to the US’s hostility toward Russia. In his speech on Tuesday, Putin said the Western powers want to turn a “local conflict into a global confrontation,” which he said “represents an existential threat to our country.” Russia’s military doctrine allows the use of nuclear weapons if the existence of the Russian state is threatened.

Despite the warnings from Russia, Biden downplayed the danger of New START being suspended. “It’s a big mistake to do that. Not very responsible. But I don’t read into that that he’s thinking of using nuclear weapons or anything like that,” he said.

Back in October, Biden acknowledged that the risk of “nuclear armageddon” was higher than at any time since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The US has escalated its involvement in the war since Biden’s warning, making a direct clash between the US and Russia more likely.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.