British public officials are a “legitimate military target” because of the UK’s support for Ukraine, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has warned.
Mr Medvedev, deputy chairman of Vladimir Putin’s security council, claimed the UK’s support for Kyiv amounted to an “undeclared war” against Russia.
His comments came after Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said Ukraine had the right to “project force beyond its borders” into Russia to resist Mr Putin’s invasion.
The Ukrainian authorities have denied launching the drone attack which hit Moscow on Tuesday, but there has been an escalation in incidents within Russia either by Kyiv’s military or local groups opposed to the war.
How has Britain responded?
In response to the Foreign Secretary, Mr Medvedev said: “The goofy officials of the UK, our eternal enemy, should remember that within the framework of the universally accepted international law which regulates modern warfare, including the Hague and Geneva Conventions with their additional protocols, their state can also be qualified as being at war.
“Today, 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.
“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.”
Cleverly sent a series of tweets saying Britain was giving military support to Ukraine and its Nato allies like Estonia, to repel the Russian threat.
UK defence officials believe the incursions into Russia are causing the redeployment of Moscow’s forces.
The intelligence briefing from the Ministry of Defence said: “Since the start of May 2023, Russia has increasingly ceded the initiative in the conflict and is reacting to Ukrainian action rather than actively progressing towards its own war aims.
“During May 2023, Russia has launched 20 nights of one-way-attack uncrewed aerial vehicle and cruise missile attacks deep inside Ukraine.
“Russia has had little success in its likely aims of neutralising Ukraine’s improved air defences and destroying Ukrainian counter-attack forces. On the ground, it has redeployed security forces to react to partisan attacks inside western Russia.”