A top Russian official has accused the US and its allies of trying to provoke the country’s break-up and warned that such attempts could lead to doomsday.

Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council chaired by President Vladimir Putin, warned the West that an attempt to push Russia towards collapse would amount to a “chess game with death”.

Mr Medvedev, who served as Russia’s president in 2008-2012 when term limits forced Mr Putin to shift into the prime minister’s post, was widely seen by the West as more liberal than his mentor.

In recent months, however, he has made remarks that have sounded much tougher than those issued by the most hawkish Kremlin officials in an apparent attempt to curry favour with Mr Putin.

Dmitry Medvedev
Dmitry Medvedev made the comments after attending a memorial service for former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev (Ekaterina Shtukina/Sputnik/Kremlin Pool/AP)

After attending Saturday’s farewell ceremony for former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Mr Medvedev published a post on his messaging app channel, referring to the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union and accusing the US and its allies of trying to engineer Russia’s break-up.

He alleged that some in the West would like to “take advantage of the military conflict in Ukraine to push our country to a new twist of disintegration, do everything to paralyse Russia’s state institutions and deprive the country of efficient controls, as happened in 1991”.

He wrote: “Those are the dirty dreams of the Anglo-Saxon perverts, who go to sleep with a secret thought about the break-up of our state, thinking about how to shred us into pieces, cut us into small bits.

“Such attempts are very dangerous and mustn’t be underestimated. Those dreamers ignore a simple axiom: a forceful disintegration of a nuclear power is always a chess game with death, in which it’s known precisely when the check and mate comes: doomsday for mankind.”

Mr Medvedev concluded by saying that Russia’s nuclear arsenals are “the best guarantee of safeguarding the Great Russia”.