Top Russian official threatens strikes on Ukrainian, European nuclear facilities

Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council, said on July 9 that Russia should attack Ukrainian nuclear power plants and nuclear facilities in Eastern Europe if an alleged Ukrainian attack on a Russian nuclear plant is confirmed.

"If the attempted attack with NATO missiles on the Desnogorsk Nuclear Power Plant is confirmed, we should consider the scenario of a simultaneous Russian attack on the Pivdenno-Ukrainska, Rivne and Khmelnytsky nuclear power plants, as well as nuclear facilities in Eastern Europe," Medvedev, who is also a former president of Russia, said on Telegram. "There is nothing to be ashamed of here."

Medvedev responded to the recent claim by Mash, a Russian propagandist channel on Telegram, that Ukraine attempted to attack Russia's Desnogorsk Nuclear Power Plant in Smolensk Oblast with a Storm Shadow missile earlier on July 9. Mash claimed that the missile had been shot down by air defense.

Medvedev, a close ally of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, used to be seen as a more liberal representative of the Kremlin but has become one of Russia's most prominent hawks during the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

In January, Medvedev said a potential defeat of Russia in war against Ukraine "may trigger a nuclear war," adding that "nuclear powers have never lost major conflicts on which their fate depends."

In May he said that, by sending weapons and training Ukrainian soldiers, NATO "increases the likelihood of a direct and open conflict between NATO and Russia."