Former Russian president Medvedev says Moscow should seek 'disappearance' of Ukraine and NATO

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Russia's Deputy head of the Security Council Medvedev marks Army Day

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday denounced NATO's summit promise to grant eventual membership to Ukraine and said Russia should work towards the "disappearance" of both Ukraine and the military alliance.

In a social media post, Medvedev quoted in English from NATO's declaration at its Washington summit this week: "We will continue to support (Ukraine) on its irreversible path to full Euro-Atlantic integration, including NATO membership."

He went on, in Russian: "The conclusion is obvious. We must do everything so that Ukraine's 'irreversible path' to NATO ends with either the disappearance of Ukraine or the disappearance of NATO. Or even better - the disappearance of both."

Medvedev, who during his 2008-2012 presidency was regarded as a pro-Western moderniser, has reinvented himself as an arch-hawk since the start of the war in Ukraine, something Moscow calls a "special military operation."

In particular, he has repeatedly warned the U.S. and its allies that their arming of Kyiv could lead to a "nuclear apocalypse".

Any decision on the use of Russian nuclear weapons would belong to President Vladimir Putin. But diplomats say the views of Medvedev, who is deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council, give an indication of hawkish thinking at the top of the Kremlin which has cast the war as an existential struggle with the West.

(Reporting by Reuters, writing by Mark Trevelyan; Editing by Andrew Osborn)