Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday that any weapons in Moscow's arsenal, including strategic nuclear weapons, could be used to defend territories annexed to Russia from Ukraine.
Medvedev, who also serves as deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council, said that referendums planned by Russian-installed and separatist authorities in large swathes of Ukrainian territory will take place, and "there is no going back".
"Therefore, various retired idiots with generals' stripes do not need to scare us with talk about a NATO strike on Crimea," Medvedev wrote on Telegram. "Hypersonic [missiles] are guaranteed to be able to reach targets in Europe and the United States much faster."
"The Western establishment and all citizens of NATO countries in general need to understand that Russia has chosen its own path," he added.