Russia would bomb any country that arrests Vladimir Putin, a former Russian president has warned after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against Putin over the abduction of Ukrainian children.
Dmitry Medvedev cautioned that attempts to arrest Putin abroad would be seen by Moscow as a “declaration of war”.
Mr Putin could face arrest in more than 100 countries that recognise the jurisdiction of the ICC warrant.
Russia, like the US, is not one of the 123 countries that are parties to the ICC under the Rome Statute, which established the court.
A future trial of Putin is therefore highly improbable, but the warrant is expected to have an impact on his ability to travel because he could be arrested and sent to The Hague.
“Let’s imagine – it’s clear that this is a situation that will never happen – but nevertheless let’s imagine it does,” the Putin ally said.
“The current head of a nuclear state arrives on the territory of, say, Germany, and is arrested. What is this? A declaration of war against the Russian Federation.”
Mr Medvedev said that if this happened “all of our means, rockets and others, will fly on the Bundestag, in the Chancellor’s Office and so on.”
The former Russian leader, who served as president between 2008 and 2012, has made increasingly hawkish speeches since Putin sent troops to Ukraine, repeatedly issuing nuclear threats.