“For us, Crimea is part of Russia. And it will be so forever. Any attempt to invade Crimea is a declaration of war against our nation. If a NATO member does so, it would mean a conflict with the entire North Atlantic Alliance. “World War III. Total Disaster,” he said in an interview with the magazine Argumenty in Fakty which was published on Tuesday.
Crimea broke out of Ukraine after the armed coup in Kyiv in 2014 and voted to rejoin Russia in a referendum. The move was rejected by Ukraine, which regards the peninsula as a Russian-occupied territory. Ukrainian officials have said the promise not to use Western weapons against Russian territory does not apply to Crimea.
Medvedev, who currently serves as vice chairman of Russia’s Security Council, described the scenario while commenting on why NATO’s expansion into Ukraine would be more dangerous than Finland and Sweden joining the alliance. He said Russia did not like the proposed expansion in northern Europe, but could live with it.
“We do not have and do not expect to have any territorial disputes with these nations, or even possible causes for one. If they feel better and more secure by joining the alliance, let them have it. NATO is already next to our nation without Sweden and Finland. “ he said.
However, this comes with the proviso that Russia would react to the expected accession of the Nordic nations by, among other things, deploying nuclear weapons in the Baltic Sea, Medvedev noted. “No one is excited about it, including the citizens of the two NATO candidates. To have our Iskander [tactical missiles]hypersonic missiles and nuclear-armed warships on one’s doorstep are not something to be fond of. “
He added that the escalation of tensions with Russia will require military build-up in Finland and Sweden, with resources that could be used to fund civilian programs that are instead invested in defense. Medvedev described this as “senseless and not cheap.”