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Smart Bombs: Military, Defense and National Security

Would Russia Start a War with NATO If Patriot Missiles Head to Ukraine?

Patriot Missile. Image Credit: Lockheed Martin.

Russia’s Medvedev Launches Into Anti-NATO Tirade, Threatens “Response” to Delivery Of Patriot Systems – Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev issued a warning to NATO on Tuesday, suggesting that the Russian military would “respond” if the United States goes ahead with rumored plans to provide Ukraine with Patriot missile systems.

What Is the Patriot?

The MIM-104 Patriot is a surface-to-air missile system used by the United States military.

Manufactured by Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon, the missile system uses an advanced radar system and aerial interceptor missile, allowing it to accurately strike targets from as far away as 160 km, or 90 miles.

Writing on Telegram, Medvedev suggested that NATO countries would immediately become “legitimate” targets for Russia.

“If, as (NATO Secretary-General Jens) Stoltenberg hinted, NATO were to supply the Ukrainian fanatics with Patriot systems along with NATO personnel, they would immediately become a legitimate target of our armed forces,” Medvedev wrote on Telegram.

The Russian official’s comments carry weight, too.

Medvedev is more than just a former president – he currently serves as the deputy chairman of the Security Council of Russia.

Throughout the Russian invasion, Medvedev’s comments have consistently been more extreme than those of Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov and even Russian President Vladimir Putin himself.

While the message seems to suggest Medvedev believes NATO countries would become legitimate targets, the wording of his post also leaves room for the Russian official to claim that he was talking about the Patriot systems themselves or even Ukrainian forces becoming targets.

A senior U.S. defense official told reporters this week that the Patriot missile system is “one of the air defense capabilities that is being considered along with all others.”

Kyiv a “Russian” City

In another update shared on Telegram, Medvedev also warned Ukrainian authorities and military leaders from going ahead with plans to retake Crimea, the Ukrainian territory annexed by Russia in 2014.

In the strongly-worded post, Medvedev repeatedly referred to Ukrainian officials as insects and warned that efforts to reclaim Crimea would prompt the Russian military to make moves to take control of Kyiv – something the Russian military had already failed to achieve in the first few weeks of the Russian invasion.

“Here, various cockroaches that have bred in the Kiev insectarium are constantly threatening to ‘return the Crimea,’” Medvedev writes.

“Well, the goals are clear: to cheer up the tame insects around and show  the owner of the insectarium that they are still very capable of cockroach running for a piece of food.”

Medvedev went on to claim that Kyiv is the “capital of Ancient Rus” and a “large Little Russian city within the Russian Empire.”

Medvedev’s comments reflect a growing chance that Ukraine could launch a new offensive on the Crimean peninsula.

Russian forces are already fortifying the region. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly promised to take back every inch of Ukrainian land, including Crimea, rather than negotiating with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

With Russian forces no longer present in Kherson city, Crimea is just about within firing range of Ukrainian troops positioned there.

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor.

Written By

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive's Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.