President of Ukraine visits Kherson and vows to "restore everything"

Moscow: Putin's arrest would be a "declaration of war" on Russia

The Ukrainian president walks along a street in a village during his visit to the Kherson region. Reuters

Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev warned yesterday of the growing risk of nuclear war, and criticized a German minister for threatening Russian President Vladimir Putin with arrest, saying that any attempt to arrest Putin would be tantamount to declaring war on Russia, and would lead to a Russian strike on Germany. The Russian warning comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky toured the Russian-occupied Kherson region in southern Ukraine yesterday, the day after his visit to the Eastern Front.

Dmitry Medvedev, 57, deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council, which Putin chairs, said in video remarks to reporters that Russia's relations with the West had reached an all-time low.

Asked if the risk of a nuclear conflict had receded, Medvedev replied: "No, he did not back down, he grew. Every day when they supply Ukraine with foreign weapons, the world is getting closer to nuclear end."

In his comments, Medvedev denounced the ICC's decision to issue an arrest warrant for Putin for alleged involvement in the abduction of thousands of children from Ukraine as legally invalid. He noted that the move adds to the "enormous negative potential" in the already severely strained relations between Russia and the West.

"Our relations with the West are already worse than they have been in history," he said.

Medvedev specifically criticized German Justice Minister Marco Buschmann, who said last week that Putin would be arrested under the ICC warrant if he visited Germany.

Medvedev said the ICC was a "worthless legal entity" that at no time had it done anything significant. Some countries that do not recognize the ICC include Russia, China and the United States.

"Let's imagine... The leader of a nuclear power visits German territory and is arrested," he said, adding that it would be tantamount to declaring war against Russia. "In this case, our assets will fly to hit the Bundestag, the chancellor's office and so on."

He noted that Russian nuclear forces provided a strong deterrent amid the fighting in Ukraine, adding: "We would have been torn to pieces without them."

Medvedev also challenged Ukraine's sovereignty in comments that could mirror Moscow's plans to extend its gains.

Medvedev said his country plans to produce 1500,<> tanks this year for the fight against Ukraine.

"The military-industrial complex is working relentlessly," Medvedev added.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian president toured the Russian-occupied Kherson region in southern Ukraine yesterday, the day after his visit to the Eastern Front.

Zelenskiy visited in particular the heavily damaged town of Posad-Pokrovsky, which was occupied by Moscow until the withdrawal of the Russian army in the fall of 2022, according to photos released by the presidency.

Zelensky also visited a power plant damaged during shelling of Ukrainian power facilities throughout the winter.

The Ukrainian president posted footage of a visit to the Kherson region, where he vowed to "restore everything" after the Russian war.

The presidency's Telegram account explained that this tour focused on reconstruction in the Kherson region where Zelensky chaired a meeting on the subject.

For his part, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz pledged at the start of the European summit yesterday that the European Union will join hands in supporting Ukraine in the face of Russia.

"This is what Russian President Vladimir Putin has never taken into account that support for Ukraine will go uniformly and for a long time like this," Scholz said in Brussels.

"We are also ready to support Ukraine as long as necessary," the German chancellor added.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Monday expressed support for the ICC following its decision to issue an arrest warrant for Putin on war crimes charges.

"No one is above the law," Baerbock told a news conference in North Macedonia, referring to the Russian president.

Russian drones have attacked Ukrainian cities and missiles have struck a residential building, but Ukrainian and British military experts have predicted that a months-long ground offensive on Bakhmut in the east of the country could be halted after facing fierce resistance.

Russian forces launched a wave of air strikes in northern and southern Ukraine.

In London, Britain's Ministry of Defence said that in eastern Ukraine, Russian forces repelled Ukrainian forces in heavy fighting near the Russian-occupied town of Kremina.