Russia would be justified in using any means necessary if Kiev tries to retake the peninsula, claimed former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev Dmitry Medvedev © Ekaterina Shtukina; RIA Novosti

Any Ukrainian attempt to capture Crimea could be met with a nuclear response by Moscow, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has warned. He insisted, however, that Kiev’s claims that it could seize the peninsular are nothing more than hollow threats.

Speaking to journalists on Friday, Medvedev dismissed the likelihood that Ukraine would carry out an attack on Crimea, asserting that “this is propaganda and should be treated that way, during war it always exists.”

Medvedev, who currently serves as the deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, added that “if we talk about some sort of serious offensive that is associated with an attempt to retake Crimea, it is quite obvious that this is the basis for the use of all means of protection, including those provided for by the fundamentals of the Doctrine of Nuclear Deterrence, when the use of any types of weapons against Russia threatens the existence of the state itself.”

Crimea became part of Russia in 2014 after the local population voted overwhelmingly in favor of the move following a Western-backed coup in Kiev. Ukraine and its Western supporters have refused to recognize the step, and Kiev has repeatedly vowed to retake the peninsula by force.

Medvedev stressed that any attempt to break off part of Russia would be considered as a threat to the nation’s existence. “Therefore, draw your own conclusions. There are absolutely grounds for using any weapon here. Absolutely any kind. And I hope our ‘friends’ across the ocean understand this,” the former president said.

Ex-Russian president touts defense industry's capacity Ex-Russian president touts defense industry's capacity

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Ex-Russian president touts defense industry’s capacity

He also stressed that the prospect of a nuclear conflict has not faded, but instead continues to grow. Every day that Western weapons are delivered to Ukraine, the closer the world moves towards a “nuclear apocalypse,” Medvedev cautioned, adding that “it doesn’t mean that this will happen, but the horsemen of the apocalypse continue to move.”

The former Russian leader also claimed that without military aid and “direct cash injections” from NATO, the “Kiev regime would not have survived even a week” against Russian forces. The greater the supply of weapons, the more difficult the situation becomes, Medvedev added.

He stated that it is “obvious” Kiev is preparing some sort of new offensive, although Russia’s General Staff is making its own assessments and planning a response. Medvedev insisted that Russia would prefer to resolve all issues peacefully, but that the West seems uninterested in such a resolution. (RT)