UPDATED: Kremlin says Medvedev remarks on nuclear war in full accordance with nuclear doctrine

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MOSCOW, Jan 19 (Reuters) – The Kremlin said on Thursday that remarks by former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that the defeat of Russia in Ukraine could trigger a nuclear war were in full accordance with Moscow’s nuclear doctrine.

Former Russian President Medvedev said on Thursday “defeat of a nuclear power in a conventional war may trigger a nuclear war”, referring to Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.

In a post on Telegram discussing NATO support for the Ukrainian military, Medvedev said: “Nuclear powers have never lost major conflicts on which their fate depends.”

Medvedev, 57, who once presented himself as a reformer who was ready to work with the United States to liberalise Russia, has recast himself since the war as the most publicly hawkish member of Putin’s circle.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Medvedev has repeatedly raised the threat of nuclear chaos and used insults to describe the West.

Russia has 5,977 nuclear warheads while the United States has 5,428, China 350, France 290 and the United Kingdom 225, according to the Federation of American Scientists.

In Other Development

DIPLOMACY

* U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will press Germany’s Defence Minister Boris Pistorius on Thursday to allow for the transfer of German-made tanks to Ukraine, U.S. officials said.

* A U.S. official said the Biden administration was set to approve a new aid package to Ukraine, worth more than $2 billion, which would likely include Stryker armoured vehicles for Kyiv, but not M1 Abrams tanks.

* The Pentagon is still not prepared to meet Kyiv’s request for M1 Abrams tanks, said Colin Kahl, the Pentagon’s top policy adviser after returning from a trip to Ukraine.

* The U.S. will provide $125 million to Ukraine to support its energy and electric grids following targeted attacks on those utilities by Russian forces, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

* Zelenskiy said in a video address to the World Economic Forum in Davos that Western supplies of tanks and air defence units should come more quickly and before Russia mounted fresh missile and armoured assaults.

* Canada summoned Russia’s ambassador to Ottawa over attacks against civilians in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro that killed at least 45 people, including several children.

CONFLICT

* “The situation on the frontline remains tough, with Donbas being the epicentre of the most fierce and principled battles,” Zelenskiy said.

* Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said in a YouTube video that Ukrainian army units remained in Soledar, with heavy fighting in western districts despite Russian claims for more than a week that it now controlled the town.

Reuters could not verify battlefield reports.

* Russian President Putin, visiting an air defence factory in St Petersburg, said Russia’s military industrial might meant “victory is assured, I have no doubt about it.”

HELICOPTER CRASH

* Ukraine’s interior minister and a child were among at least 14 people killed when a helicopter crashed into a nursery and set it ablaze in a suburb of the capital Kyiv.

* It was not immediately clear what caused the helicopter to crash. Zelenskiy has asked for an investigation.

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