Putin's most alarming line came when he said, "If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people," following with "It’s not a bluff." He had also stressed Moscow is ready to use "all available" means to protect its "territorial integrity".
Medvedev has taken the president's words further in Thursday statements, stressing that regarding Russian-seized territory and the move to vote in several areas - including the LPR, DPR, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions - "there is no going back" and that even a 'nuclear option' could be on the table.
"The Donbas [Donetsk and Luhansk] republics and other territories will be accepted into Russia," he posted to Telegram. That's when the former president and top national security official doubled down on Putin's nuclear warning, stating:
Russia has announced that not only mobilization capabilities, but also any Russian weapons, including strategic nuclear weapons and weapons based on new principles, could be used for such protection.