‘Wrath of God’: Former Russian President Warns Against War Crimes Investigation

‘Wrath of God’: Former Russian President Warns Against War Crimes Investigation

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev alluded to the threat of nuclear escalation in a post about U.S. support for war crimes investigations.


The West’s efforts to punish Russia over its invasion of Ukraine could lead to irreversible nuclear escalation, warned former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev.

“Speaking at the St. Petersburg International Legal forum, I described any attempts to create a tribunal or court for a so-called investigation of Russia as crazy,” he wrote on his Telegram channel, referring to U.S.-backed calls for an international tribunal to prosecute alleged war crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine. “These proposals are not only legally void. The idea of punishing a country that possesses [the world’s] largest nuclear potential is absurd in of itself. And potentially threatens the existence of mankind,” he continued.


Medvedev went on to accuse the United States of launching wars that have led to the deaths of over twenty million people. “Vietnam and Korea, Yugoslavia and Iraq, Cuba, Afghanistan and Syria are well aware of how disastrous these invasions are— the list is long and constantly updated. America has killed over twenty million people in thirty-seven countries. Think about it — more than 20 MILLION!” He concluded his lengthy Telegram post with a seeming reference to the apocalypse. “The U.S. and its worthless stooges should remember the words of the Bible: Do not judge and you will not be judged ... so that the great day of His wrath doesn’t come to their home one day,” he wrote.

Medvedev, who was seen as a moderate voice in Russian politics over the course of his presidency from 2008 to 2012, adopted a strikingly hawkish stance in the aftermath of Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine. The former Russian president has routinely dabbled in nuclear saber rattling, saying in April that "there can be no more talk of any nuclear–free status for the Baltic” if Sweden and Finland join the NATO alliance.

Medvedev is joined in his bellicose rhetoric by a growing number of top Russian officials and politicians. “Let America always remember, there is a part of [Russian] territory: Alaska,” Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of Russia’s lower house, reportedly warned. “So when they start trying to dispose of our frozen assets abroad, before they do it, let them think: we also have something to return,” he said. Russian president Vladimir Putin raised the threat of further escalation in response to the West’s continued military aid to Ukraine. "The West wants to fight us until the last Ukrainian. … Everyone should know that, by and large, we haven't started anything yet in earnest," he said yesterday. "At the same time, we don't reject peace talks. But those who reject them should know that the further it goes, the harder it will be for them to negotiate with us," Putin added.

Mark Episkopos is a national security reporter for the National Interest.

Image: Reuters.