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Russia’s Medvedev says UK officials are ‘legitimate military targets’ for their support to Ukraine

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday claimed that British officials had become “legitimate military targets” because of the U.K.’s continued support for Ukraine amid Russia’s ongoing invasion. 

“The UK acts as Ukraine’s ally providing it with military aid in the form of equipment and specialists, i.e., de facto is leading an undeclared war against Russia,” he said in a tweet. “That being the case, any of its public officials (either military, or civil, who facilitate the war) can be considered as a legitimate military target.”

Medvedev, who also sits as deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, has become notorious for his outlandish comments relating to the war in Ukraine, the threat of nuclear escalation, and Russia’s ever-deteriorating relations with Western nations. 

Dmitry Medvedev

Dmitry Medvedev chairs a meeting via video link outside Moscow, on March 16. (Yekaterina Shtukina, Sputnik, Government Pool Photo via AP)

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Though his most recent remarks were in response to comments made by U.K. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, who said Tuesday from a press conference in Estonia that Ukraine has the “legitimate right” to defend itself and can “project force” beyond its borders, reported Sky News. 

Cleverly told reporters that Kyiv has the right to hit “legitimate military targets” beyond its borders as part of its self-defense in stopping Russia’s war effort.

“We should recognize that,” he added in an apparent shift in how Western allies are looking at the war in Ukraine following more than a year of NATO attempts to balance support for Kyiv while preventing the war from slipping beyond Ukraine’s borders. 

James Cleverly

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly arrives at a ceremony to honor victims of terrorism and extremism prior to a meeting of NATO foreign ministers, in Oslo, Norway, Wednesday, May 31, 2023. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

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Medvedev responded to Cleverly by calling the U.K. Russia’s “eternal enemy” and claimed that under “universally accepted international law which regulates modern warfare” – which Moscow has violated by illegally invading Ukraine – the U.K. could “also be qualified as being at war” given its support to Kyiv. 

Cleverly’s remarks were in response to questions from reporters after a drone attack hit Moscow and damaged three apartment buildings Tuesday. 

Five of the eight drones fired at Moscow – some 310 miles from the border with Ukraine – were shot down while the three others were jammed and veered off course, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. 

Moscow building damaged by drone

Russian investigators inspect a building in Moscow, Russia, following a drone attack on Tuesday, May 30. (AP)

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Russian President Vladimir Putin called the attack a “terrorist” act by Ukraine. 

Kyiv has denied launching the drones at Moscow. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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