The Kremlin warned that votes held in Russian-controlled regions of Ukraine to join Russia would have security implications if annexed by Moscow, as officials threatened the use of nuclear weapons.
“The legal situation will radically change from the point of view of international law, and that will also have consequences for security in these territories,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Earlier on Tuesday, former President Dmitry Medvedev said in a post on Telegram, “Let’s imagine that Russia is forced to use the most fearsome weapon against the Ukrainian regime, which had committed a large-scale act of aggression that is dangerous for the very existence of our state.”
Remarks that quoted the terminology of one of the conditions of Russia’s nuclear strike doctrine: “aggression against the Russian Federation with conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is threatened”.
On Saturday, Russia’s top diplomat, Sergei Lavrov, echoed similar remarks and said that regions of Ukraine where referendums are being held would be under Russia’s “full protection” if they are annexed.