Dimitry Medvedev has issued a chilling warning to the West, claiming that Moscow’s hypersonic missiles could hit targets “even faster”. The comments come as the Kremlin plans to hold illegal referendums to annex occupied Ukrainian territory in the coming days. Medvedev, who also serves as deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said that referendums planned by Russia-installed and separatist authorities in large swathes of Ukrainian territory will take place and “there is no going back”.
In a message posted on Telegram, Medvedev said: “Referendums will be held, and the Donbass republics and other territories will be admitted to Russia.
“The protection of all the territories that have joined will be significantly strengthened by the Russian Armed Forces.
“Russia announced that not only mobilization capabilities, but also any Russian weapons, including strategic nuclear weapons and weapons based on new principles, could be used for such protection.”
He mentioned hypersonic missiles which he claimed would “be able to reach targets in Europe and the United States much faster”.
He added: “The Western establishment and all citizens of NATO countries in general need to understand that Russia has chosen its own path.”
Putin added: “I would like to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction, and for some components more modern than those of the NATO countries.
“And if the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people. It’s not a bluff.”
Once occupied territories in Ukraine are illegally annexed into Russia, the Kremlin could try to argue that Russia’s “territorial integrity” is being threatened by Western weapons in the hands of the Ukrainian forces, potentially escalating the conflict.
The four regions which Moscow aims to annex, Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia are not fully under Russian control with only around 60 percent of Donetsk and 66 percent of Zaporizhzhia regions held by the Russian army.
The referendums in these territories – expected to begin from Friday, have been called a sham by the international community and will likely produce dubious results overwhelming endorsing Russia.