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A former Russian president and close ally of Vladimir Putin has called for strikes on Ukrainian and Eastern Europe nuclear power plants, Daily Express US reports.
Dmitry Medvedev, considered to be Putin’s right-hand man, made the worrying remarks in response to allegations Ukraine had attempted to strike a nuclear power plant in the Smolensk region of Russia with British weaponry.
While the failed attack has been reported on messaging app Telegram, it has not been confirmed and there has been no evidence to suggest the allegations are true.
Medvedev posted on Telegram: ”If the attempted NATO missile attack on Smolensk Nuclear Power Plant is confirmed, then it is necessary to consider the scenario of a Russian strike on the south Ukraine nuclear power plant, Rivne nuclear power plant, and Khmelnytskyi nuclear power plant, as well as nuclear facilities in eastern Europe.”
The popular Telegram channel Mash was first to make the claims, alleging Russian air defences shot down the missiles.
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It also claimed that Ukraine attempted a strike on a military air base in Russia’s Kaluga region, some 200 miles from Moscow, with either 5B28 or British Storm Shadow missiles.
Medvedev seems to be fond of the prospect of nuclear Armageddon, saying earlier this year that Russia losing in Ukraine could “trigger a nuclear war”.
Medvedev, who was president of Russia from 2008 to 2012, said on Telegram: “Nuclear powers have never lost major conflicts on which their fate depends.”
His latest comments come as the Kremlin’s forces are facing multi-front counteroffensive by Ukraine.
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Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said: “We would all love to see the counteroffensive accomplished in a shorter period of time. But there is [a] reality. Today, the initiative is on our side.”
Kyiv’s forces have had success around Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, which was captured by Moscow after a ten month battle that ended in May.
Concern has been growing over the comparatively slow rate of the current counteroffensive compared to one in autumn 2022 which saw Russian lines take a heavy beating, whereas current gains on the southern and eastern fronts this year have been relatively modest.
However, the slower pace could be a deliberate move by Ukraine, according to Washington-based think tank the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
It said in an update on Twitter: “ISW continues to assess that the current pace of the Ukrainian counteroffensive is reflective of a deliberate effort to conserve Ukrainian combat power and attrit Russian manpower and equipment at the cost of slower territorial advances.”
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