Moscow (Reuters) – Russia doesn’t really need diplomatic ties with the West anymore, ex-president and top security official Dmitry Medvedev said on Saturday, shrugging off sanctions imposed on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.
Medvedev said the sanctions gave Russia a good reason to pull out of a dialogue on strategic (nuclear) stability and, potentially, from the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) signed with Washington in 2010 and extended in 2021.
In comments on his verified page on Russian social network VK, Medvedev wrote: “We don’t especially need diplomatic relations… It’s time to padlock the embassies and continue contacts looking at each other through binoculars and gun sights.”
Medvedev, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin and deputy head of Russia’s security council, said the West’s “wonderful (sanctions) will not change a thing, of course”.
Moscow will continue its military operations in Ukraine until it had achieved goals defined by President Vladimir Putin as “demilitarisation and “denazification”, he said.
“The sanctions are being imposed for one simple reason – political impotence arising from their (the West’s) inability to change Russia’s course,” Medvedev wrote.
He condemned as “really unfair” a decision by the Council of Europe, a rights watchdog, to suspend Russian membership, but added the move provided a good reason “to slam the door” for good on the organisation, giving Russia an opportunity to restore the death penalty for dangerous criminals.
Russian forces pounded Ukrainian cities including the capital Kyiv with artillery and cruise missiles on Saturday for a third day running but President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the capital Kyiv remained in Ukrainian hands.