Kyiv and numerous foreign leaders call the referendums organized by Russian-appointed and separatist authorities in the occupied regions of Ukraine fraudulent and illegal. However, according to Medvedev, they will take place. “There is no going back,” declared a close associate of President Vladimir Putin. Russians are protesting in the streets on a large scale, they are hindered by the sudden declaration of partial mobilization “The Republic of Donbass (Donetsk and Luhansk) and other territories will be accepted into Russia,” Medvedev said, claiming that the protection of these territories will be significantly strengthened. “Russia has announced that not only mobilization capacities, but also any Russian weapons, including strategic nuclear weapons, could be used for such protection.” Medvedev is currently the vice-chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation. In recent months, he has regularly issued aggressive statements against the West and Ukraine, underscoring his transformation from the apparent liberal reformer he appeared to be as president in 2008-12 to a sharp geopolitical hawk.
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