Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has issued a warning, stating that the confrontation between Moscow and the West will persist for decades, and the conflict with Ukraine could become permanent. Once regarded as a liberal reformer in the West, Medvedev has taken on a more hawkish stance since Russia’s military involvement in Ukraine began. As the deputy head of the Security Council, his views are said to reflect the thinking at the highest levels of the Kremlin.
In an article published in the government-owned Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper, Medvedev argued that the current tensions between Russia and the West are even worse than those witnessed during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, when the world faced the threat of a nuclear war. He warned that a nuclear conflict, while likely to have no winners, is quite probable due to the sharp differences over Ukraine, differing visions for the future, and conflicting views on the global order.
Medvedev’s remarks, described by Western analysts as “nuclear sabre-rattling,” are seen as an attempt to intimidate the West, dissuading them from providing military support to Ukraine and instead pushing for peace talks between Kyiv and Moscow. Despite Western countries supporting Ukraine in its defense against what they perceive as an aggressive Russian campaign, Medvedev believes that their involvement increases the risk of a nuclear confrontation.
While the United States, Ukraine’s primary financial and military supporter, aims to avoid a direct conflict with Russia to prevent a nuclear war, Ukraine refuses to engage in negotiations until all Russian soldiers have left its territory. Medvedev asserted that Russia remains committed to preventing Ukraine from joining NATO, emphasizing that Moscow’s goal is to eliminate the threat of Ukraine’s NATO membership.
Given NATO’s policy of not admitting countries involved in territorial conflicts, Medvedev argued that the conflict with Ukraine could potentially become permanent due to its existential significance to Russia. He emphasized that the only way to de-escalate tensions between Russia and the West is through tough negotiations, acknowledging that the confrontation will be long-lasting and unlikely to be resolved in the near future.