THE risk of nuclear oblivion is edging closer as humanity stands on the brink of World War 3, Russia’s ex-President has warned.

Dmitry Medvedev is a close ally of Vladimir Putin and made the chilling warning amid rising tensions between the Russia and the West over the Ukraine war.

Kremlin jets recently brought down an American drone with both sides displaying nuclear bombers in shows of strength.

Fears have been raised Putin could still use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, as the prospect of victory ebbs away from him, in a final act of destruction.

Medvedev, 57, is currently the deputy head of Russia’s powerful Security Council and a former prime minister.

He told an audience in Moscow the West was to blame for taking the world to the brink of Armageddon.

He said: “The world is sick and is on the edge of the Third World War. And although we tried to avoid war for 30 years, it was imposed on us.”

He added that the threat of climate change was nothing compared to that of nuclear war “which exists today unfortunately”.

“It’s growing with every day for known reasons. The Western world was unfair to our country to a large extent. Did they hear us? No, they didn’t.”

Medvedev went on to warn that Russia was itself prepared to use nuclear weapons.

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He spelt out that Russian doctrine “makes it clear that nuclear weapons may be used if Russia faces an act of aggression involving other types of weapons, which threaten the very existence of the state”.

He added: “In fact, it is about using nuclear weapons in response to such actions.

“Our potential adversaries should not underestimate this. 

“All these speculations about how the Russians will never do this are worthless. 

“The Western analysts and Western commanders – both military and political leaders – should simply assess our rules and our intentions.”

Medvedev was elected president of Russia in 2008 after Putin was forced to step down due to term limits.

He was once considered more liberal than Putin but has become more and more hardline in his statements, particularly since Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine.

Last month he warned of the “monstrous” consequences of nuclear war in which it would be “impossible to say which army was the first and which second”.

Medvedev went on to claim Russia was fighting for its survival against NATO and demanded a “sanitary cordon” up to 60 miles deep around its territory.

He also said Ukraine “will burn” if Kyiv uses longer-range missiles to attack Russia.

It comes after leaked spy documents revealed how Ukraine had plotted an audacious attack on Moscow to mark the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion.