What’s Behind Dmitry Medvedev’s Nuclear Saber-Rattling?

After the shock of the Bucha massacre and the steady drip of new Russian atrocities in Ukraine, there is growing interest to set up an international tribunal or some kind of investigation into these crimes. Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council and former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev commented on this possibility at a legal forum on July 30:

“It is also senseless to attempt to create tribunals or courts to investigate the circumstances of certain events via particular supranational bodies … I’m not talking here about the practical matters of such steps. This is all gibberish, to be honest. Do these states and individual politicians really believe in the possibility of criminal tribunals against the country with the largest nuclear arsenal? I somehow cannot recall a single successful attempt to arrange such a trial for the numerous military campaigns conducted by the United States in the 20th and 21st centuries.” 

Here we see a pretty typical example of Russian whataboutism mixed with some nuclear bluster. A few days later Medvedev followed it up with a much more frank clarification in a Telegram post. He wanted to make sure that people realized that, “These proposals are not only legally void. The idea of punishing the country that has the largest nuclear arsenal is absurd in itself. And it potentially threatens the existence of mankind.”

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