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World faces 'obliteration' with 'very real risk' of Putin using nukes in Ukraine, warns ex-navy boss

‘Cornered’ Russian president Vladimir Putin poses a ‘very real risk’ of firing nuclear weapons at Ukraine in a devastating move that could ‘obliterate’ global peace, the former head of the Royal Navy had warned.

Admiral Lord Alan West said that things have ‘gone very, very wrong’ for the Russian leader over his botched invasion of Ukraine.

His comments came after desperate despot ordered the call-up of 300,000 military reservists – a first in Russia since the Second World War – and issued a chilling new threat to use nuclear weapons against the West, telling world leaders to back off Ukraine while warning: ‘I’m not bluffing’. 

Lord West, who served during the Cold War, said the threat was something Western leaders could not afford to shrug off.

The former security minister told MailOnline: ‘There is a very real risk he might use tactical nuclear weapons if he thinks things have gone very, very wrong.

Admiral Lord Alan West, former head of the Royal Navy, warned there was a ‘very real risk’ Putin could use nuclear weapons in his bid to conquer Ukraine 

In a chilling warning Putin (pictured today) said: ‘If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will use all available means to protect Russia and our people – this is not a bluff.’

It’s estimated that Russia has about 5,977 nuclear warheads with some powerful enough to wipe out all of London 

‘This could lead to world obliteration. I think we are not nearly there yet. But the danger is once things start going wrong It becomes a slippery slope.’

During a speech this morning on Russian state-owned TV, Putin gave the go-ahead for referendums to be held in occupied areas of Ukraine that would make them a part of Russia, in the Kremlin’s eyes at least.

He vowed to use ‘all means’ to defend the regions, saying: ‘If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will use all available means to protect Russia and our people – this is not a bluff… I shall stress – by all means available to us. Those trying to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the tables can turn on them.’

Putin’s gambit comes after Ukraine routed a large part of the Russian army last week, leaving him backed into a corner of his own making and facing the possible collapse of his so-called ‘special military operation’.

But rather than back down, the Russian leader has instead chosen to double down and hold the free world to ransom – putting Russia and its huge nuclear arsenal on direct collision course with Ukraine and its allies, who have already vowed not to accept the results of ‘sham’ referendums or to stop liberating occupied territory.

Labour peer Lord West feared that if Ukraine continued to make gains against Moscow, with its Blitzkrieg-style counter-offensive, Putin would pull the trigger as a last-ditch tactic to halt Kyiv’s forces in their tracks.

The former military chief urged the West to take a tough stance over Putin’s nuclear threats. 

‘We have to be robust. We have to make it very clear that this nuclear weapon sabre-rattling is extremely dangerous,’ he added.

Russia has announced plans for referendums to take place in four regions of Ukraine it either fully or partially occupied – Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson 

The benchmark rouble-based MOEX index hit its lowest point since February 24

‘During the Cold War things were more predictable. People were rational. There were hotlines directly to Russia to avoid mistakes. My worry is I don’t believe Putin is behaving rationally. He thinks he is. But he isn’t. Everything is going wrong. He has been cornered.’    

This morning’s announcement sparked mass panic and left terrified Russian civilians scrambling to flee the country with one-way flights out of Moscow sold out within hours of Putin’s orders. 

The apocalyptic warnings have prompted even China – a close ally of Moscow – to demand a ceasefire ‘through dialogue and consultation’, while Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Putin should return all occupied land, including Crimea, to its ‘rightful owners’.

Putin’s plans caused a desperate race to escape from a potential conscription in Russia, as the few remaining flights out of the country were snapped up at exorbitant prices, with some fetching tens of thousands of pounds.

According to Russian investigative news outlet RBK, all plane tickets to countries where Russians would not need a visa, including Turkey, Armenia and Georgia, have sold out, while flagship airline Aeroflot is not displaying any available flights.

A family walks in front of a billboard promoting the military in St Petersburg, with the slogan: ‘Serving Russia is a real job’

All plane tickets to countries where Russians would not need a visa, including Turkey, Armenia and Georgia, have sold out, while national carrier Aeroflot is not displaying any tickets for today

Google data showed a family of three would have to fork out £44,000 to get to Johannesburg today in a 45-hour trip with three layovers

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (pictured today) said the call-up would be limited to those with experience as professional soldiers, and that students and those who had only served as conscripts would not be called up

Google data showed earlier that a family of three would have to fork out £44,000 to get to Johannesburg today in a 45-hour trip with three layovers, while the cheapest flights from the capital to Dubai were costing more than £4,500 – about five times the average monthly wage.

By noon, flights to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan stopped appearing online amid the chaos.

Bus tickets were also sold out, and searches for ‘how to leave Russia’ also topped Google traffic at the time Putin’s speech was originally scheduled, data shows.

Speaking ahead of Putin’s speech last night, President Zelensky dismissed ‘noise’ from Russia and said it will not alter Ukraine’s resolve. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba likewise vowed: ‘The Russians can do whatever they want. It will not change anything. Ukraine has every right to liberate its territories and will keep liberating them whatever Russia has to say.’

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodrymyr Zelensky, spoke out this morning after Putin’s announcement – calling it ‘predictable’ and saying it show the war is not going to plan. President Joe Biden is expected to give a speech to the UN later today when he will rally Ukraine’s allies to stay the course.

Screaming former Putin advisor warns despot is ready to NUKE Britain

A former Russian MP and Putin advisor declared that British cities will be targeted by Putin’s nukes in a bare-faced tirade this morning on the Today programme. 

Sergei Markov had barely exchanged pleasantries with BBC Radio 4 host Justin Webb when he launched into a series of threats about nuclear war. 

‘It’s not a good morning for everybody. In Russia there’s partial mobilisation and for your British listeners Vladimir Putin told you that he would be ready to use nuclear weapons against Western countries… including against Great Britain.

‘Your cities will be targeted.’

Markov, who was elected to Russia’s State Duma in 2007 representing Putin’s United Russia party, is now a professor of international relations at a Moscow university and has a history of spouting Putin’s rhetoric in Western media.

‘If Great Britain will continue to be aggressor against Russia… if Prime Minister of Great Britain Liz Truss still has a plan to destroy Russia, people in London should understand the threat [of nuclear weapons],’ he said.

Markov’s unhinged comments today came moments after the Russian president announced partial mobilisation to reinforce his faltering war in Ukraine and delivered his most pronounced nuclear threat yet towards the West.

Markov from the get-go set about decrying Western involvement in the Russia-Ukraine conflict and accused the West of using Ukrainian soldiers as ‘slaves’ to deplete the Russian army. 

‘It was absolutely clear that Russia has no war against Ukraine…there’s no reason to use tactical nuclear weapons against Ukrainians,’ he said.

‘But Ukraine is occupied by Western countries… it’s Western countries fighting against Russian army, using Ukrainian soldiers as their slaves. This was the main idea of Vladimir Putin.’

Bemused host Justin Webb allowed Markov to reach a conclusion before calmly asking whether the ex-Putin aide and the Russian people believed there could be a winner in a nuclear war. 

‘Everybody in the world is now thinking about nuclear war… which could be the result of crazy behaviour of US president Joe Biden and prime ministers of Great Britain Boris Johnson and [Liz] Truss,’ Markov retorted.

Podolyak said mobilisation will prove extremely unpopular within Russia, and accused Putin of trying to shift the blame for starting an ‘unprovoked war’ and crashing the economy on to the West.

It is thought the scrambling of new troops by Moscow will press around 300,000 people into the Russian army – around twice the size of the force that Putin invaded with.

But it is unclear when exactly these men will become available, and the move will do nothing to solve Russia’s chronic lack of equipment, supplies and other logistical issues that have spelled disaster for its invasion so-far.

It could take ‘months’ for the new troops to get ‘properly equipped’ and reach the front lines in Ukraine, retired Lieutenant General Ben Hodges – who once commanded the US Army in Europe – told MailOnline today. 

‘Without massive artillery support, these new soldiers will be pure cannon fodder, sitting in cold, wet trenches this winter as Ukrainian forces continue to press,’ Gen Hodges added. 

Putin had resisted declaring any kind of mobilistion until now, apparently fearing backlash from Russians who may have been supporting his ‘special military operation’ only because they had nothing to lose.

But the Russian leader dramatically changed tack under pressure from allies, propagandists and hardliners after another humiliating military defeat near Kharkiv last week which had sparked calls for him to resign.

He was at pains to stress that the mobilisation is only partial, and will not affect ordinary citizens, conscripts or students. Those called up to service – starting today – will be those with experience of service and combat, he insisted.

Speaking after Putin, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu gave a rare update on Russian casualty figures, preposterously claiming that only 6,000 Kremlin troops have been killed in the war so far.

Ukrainian losses, he said, were ten times that: 61,000 dead in addition to 49,000 wounded.

Meanwhile. this morning the Ukrainian Defence Ministry claimed that more than 55,500 Russian troops had been ‘eliminated’ since Putin launched his invasion in February.  

In a speech delayed for 13 hours overnight – triggering wishful rumours of a coup inside the Kremlin – Putin delivered his twisted interpretation of the war to date.

He attempted to rewrite history to paint the West and Nato as the aggressor – saying they had pushed Ukraine into a war with Russia, despite ordering an invasion of the country himself just seven months ago.

Ukraine began the war back in 2014, he said – referring to the date of Russia’s last invasion – when the ‘Nazi’ regime in Kyiv had turned the military on its own civilians in an attempted genocide following what he called a ‘coup’ to oust the country’s last pro-Kremlin leader.

In Putin’s retelling, the West ‘refused a peaceful solution’ and instead began rearming Ukraine for an attack on the Donbas – leaving him with no choice but to launch a pre-emptive war to protect people.

He falsely claimed that peace negotiations with Ukraine were deliberately undermined by Kyiv’s bloody-minded Western allies, who then began training and equipping its armed forces with the goal of destroying Russia.

Attacks on schools and hospitals are not the work of the Russian army, as reams of evidence suggests, but are in fact the work of Ukrainian Nazis and nationalists, he said.

Russia will also carry out a partial military mobilisation, Putin said, with veterans and reservists with combat or service experience called up (pictured, Russian marines in training)

Putin lashed out at the free world after his military suffered a humiliating rout near Kharkiv last week that handed a swathe of territory back to Ukraine (pictured, destroyed Russian tanks)

Facing these threats, Putin said he has no choice but to accept the requests of his puppet leaders in occupied Ukraine to hold referendums on joining Russia, and no choice but to call up his military reserves.

He added: ‘In its aggressive anti-Russian policies, the West has crossed all lines… There are plans in Washington and Brussels to move the military action on to Russian territory.’

Putin insisted that the Kremlin would stage ‘referendums’ in Donetsk and Luhansk – which together make up the Donbas – as well as occupied Zaporizhzhia and Kherson.

West vows never to recognise results of ‘sham’ referendums 

Western leaders last night vowed never to respect the results of ‘sham’ referendums annexing parts of Ukraine to Russia, speaking hours before Putin issued his new nuclear threat.

White House spokesman Jake Sullivan described the votes as a violation of Ukrainian sovereignty which carry ‘no legitimacy’.

Emmanuel Macron, speaking at the UN where heads of state are gathered for a general assembly, said that if Moscow’s plan ‘wasn’t so tragic it would be funny.’

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Putin will only give up his ‘imperial ambitions’ that risk destroying Ukraine and Russia if he recognises he cannot win the war.

‘This is why we will not accept any peace dictated by Russia and this is why Ukraine must be able to fend off Russia’s attack,’ Scholz said.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told the assembly the U.N.’s credibility was in danger because of the invasion by Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council, and reforms of the council were needed.

‘Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a conduct that tramples the philosophy and principles of the U.N. charter … It should never be tolerated,’ Kishida said.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba vowed that: ‘The Russians can do whatever they want. It will not change anything.

‘Ukraine has every right to liberate its territories and will keep liberating them whatever Russia has to say.’

If the referendum plan ‘wasn’t so tragic it would be funny,’ French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters ahead of the U.N. assembly in New York.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Putin will only give up his ‘imperial ambitions’ that risk destroying Ukraine and Russia if he recognises he cannot win the war.

‘This is why we will not accept any peace dictated by Russia and this is why Ukraine must be able to fend off Russia’s attack,’ Scholz said in his first address to the General Assembly.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told the assembly the U.N.’s credibility was in danger because of the invasion by Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council, and reforms of the council were needed.

‘Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a conduct that tramples the philosophy and principles of the U.N. charter … It should never be tolerated,’ Kishida said.

‘The situation on at the front clearly indicates the initiative is with Ukraine,’ Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address released early on Wednesday.

Ukraine’s position did not change because of ‘some noise’ from Russia, Zelensky added in a reference to the referendums.

But officials in the West have been quick to rubbish the plans by Moscow, with the White House on Tuesday, branding the Kremlin’s schemes as ‘shams with no legitimacy.’

Russia is now almost seven months into what was intended to be a days-long war in Ukraine, and the situation for its troops is becoming increasingly desperate.

Having been forced to retreat from Kyiv in the early months of fighting after its advance stalled, the Kremlin’s war machine instead focused its efforts on ‘liberating’ the eastern Donbas region.

Months of grinding warfare saw Russia capture the whole of the Luhansk region, but only around half of neighbouring Donetsk – which make up the Donbas.

As Russia’s advances slowed and then stopped, Ukraine went on the counter-attack – launching an offensive on the southern city of Kherson.

Russia moved forces from other areas of the country to help defend the city, at which point Ukraine launched a second counter-attack east out of Kharkiv – in the north.

That move caught the Kremlin’s commanders completely off guard, triggering a rout that handed 3,000 square miles of territory that Russia had spent months capturing back to Ukraine in just a few days.

And Kyiv has continued to press the attack, regaining a foothold in the Luhansk region and threatening to push further across the province.

Faced with war on two fronts and not enough men to hold the territory he has already captured, Putin was left with few options but to begin conscripting men.

However, experts and analysts say it will do little to turn the tide of the war in his favour.

It will take at least weeks, possibly months, to gather, equip, train and transport hundreds of thousands more men to the frontlines – time that Russia does not have.

By the time reinforcements arrive winter will be setting in when combat operations will be considerably harder, compounding the issues that Russia’s military already faces.

And mobilising more men will do nothing to solve the chronic lack of equipment and supplies among Russia’s ranks, or fix the logistical issues which have hampered its attacks.

Some drew comparisons with the disastrous Winter War that the Soviet Union fought against Finland, which ended with hundreds of thousands of Red Army troops dead or wounded to around 25,000 Finnish.

Western leaders had pre-empted Putin’s remarks at the UN last night, saying they would not recognise the results of any ‘sham’ referendums in Ukraine.

‘The Russians can do whatever they want. It will not change anything,’ Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Tuesday as world leaders were arriving for the United Nations General Assembly meeting.

He later doubled down on the issue, tweeting: ‘Sham ‘referendums’ will not change anything. Neither will any hybrid ‘mobilization.’

‘Russia has been and remains an aggressor illegally occupying parts of Ukrainian land. Ukraine has every right to liberate its territories and will keep liberating them whatever Russia has to say.’

French President Emmanuel Macron said that if the referendum plan ‘wasn’t so tragic it would be funny.’

He described Russia’s invasion as ‘a return to a new age of imperialism and colonies’ and warned that inaction risked ‘tearing down the global order without which peace is not possible.’

‘It’s not a matter of choosing one side between East and West, or North or South. It’s a matter of responsibility’ to the UN Charter, he said.

A dead soldier lies on the ground in Ukraine as Putin dramatically escalates his war

A refrigerated train filled with the bodies of Putin’s fallen troops returns from Ukraine earlier in the war

IN FULL: Putin’s address to the nation

Vladimir Putin has today threatened to nuke the West over Ukraine, as he announced plans to annex occupied parts of its territory to the Russian mainland

Russian President Putin gave his first address to the Russian nation since the start of his war in Ukraine this morning – mobilising his military reserves and issuing a fresh nuclear threat to the West.

The despot gave his own twisted version of the war to date, painting NATO as the aggressors, saying the Ukrainians are torturing their own civilians, and that Western leaders are plotting the destruction of Russia itself.

Here is his speech in full:

Citizens of Donetsk and Luhansk, the People’s republics of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, and other people free from the Nazi regime. 

We will be talking about steps of protecting our sovereignty, the will and desire of our citizens to determine their own future, and about the aggressive bloc of Western countries that are trying to keep their supremacy at all costs – that are trying to block and suppress any independent centers of development in order to force their will in brutal ways on others. 

The aim of the West is to weaken, and destroy. They are openly saying that in ’91 they managed to split the Soviet Union and now is the time for Russia itself. 

Russia will be split into many regions and areas which are fighting each-other to the death. 

They had these plans for a long time. They supported bands of international terrorists in the Caucasus. They are encouraging NATO to come to our borders. There is total Russophobia and many years of total hate for Russia.

First and foremost this is in Urkaine. They made the Ukrainian people cannon fodder and pushed Ukraine into a war with our country

They started the war already in 2014, using the army against the civilian population, and organising genocide, a blockade and terror against people who refused to acknowledge Ukrainian power as a result of a military coup.

As usual, they refused a peaceful solution of the Donbas issue and started claiming the right to use nuclear weapons. It became clear as before, a second large offensive in Donbas is inevitable and the decision of a pre-emptive military operation was the only decision and absolutely necessary.

The main aim of freeing the whole of the Donbas remains without change. 

The Luhansk People’s Republic is fully cleared of the Nazis. The fight in the Donetsk People’s Republic continues.

The occupation regime has made deep line of defence and therefore the part of our army and Donbas military units are using technology and people, and are freeing the Donetsk People’s Republic step but step, village by village, and helping people turned into hostages by the criminal regime

As you know, the professional army is taking part in the special military operation, however volunteer units are fighting alongside them. 

They have different nationalities, professions and ages. They are true patriots, protecting Russia and Donbas through the call of their hearts.

The Ministry of Defence was instructed by me to determine as soon as possible the legal status of these areas and also the status of the units of the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics. 

They have to be the same as the professional military of the Russian army, including social guarantees, medical and financial supplies.

We need to pay special attention to the procurement of the units of the Donbas using technology and munitions.

Our army, based on the decisions of the Ministry of Defence and the general command, have freed from the neo-Nazis the considerable territories of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. 

As a result, there is a long line of military contact – over 1,000km.

At the Istanbul [peace negotiations with Ukraine] there was a very positive reaction to our proposals concerning ensuring the security of Russia

But it was obvious the West was not happy with a peaceful decision, so after reaching certain compromises Ukraine was effectively given the direct order to undermine the negotiations.

The Kyiv regime started using new bands of foreign mercenaries and nationalists, and the army was trained by NATO standards and actually commanded by western commanders.

The repression regime intensified across the whole of Ukraine by its military who, in 2014,used  the politics of terror and intimidation. It becomes more and more barbaric and terrible. 

The territories freed from the neo-Nazis and freed from the war, they are the Novorossiya lands we are talking about – Kherson, Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporzhizhia regions – you have seen the barbarities of the neo-Nazis in the regions captured by them.

The Banderas [supporters of a far-right Ukrainian leader] and the Nazi mercenaries are torturing the peaceful citizens. 

In the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson over 7.5million people lived before the start of the operation.

Many were forced to become refugees, those who remained are constantly bombarded by rockets and artillery on the part of the neo-Nazis who attack hospitals, schools and create acts of terror against peaceful citizens

We have a moral right to give people that are dear to us, who are being tortured, we need to give them a chance to determine their own fate.

The parliament of the LPR, and the DPR, and the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions have decided to hold referendums on joining Russia and have asked Russia to support such a step. 

I stress that we will do all that we can to create safe conditions to hold the referendums, so people can express their will and decision about the future. They will be supported by us.

Dear friends, today our army is directing at the frontline exceeding 1000km, and they are facing not just the neo-Nazis but the collective military machine of the whole of the West. 

In this situation, I deem it is necessary to make the following decision which is appropriate to the threat we are facing.

In defence of our motherland, to ensure its safety, territorial integrity, security of our people and in the free territories I deem it necessary to support the decision of the Ministry of Defence and the general command for a partial mobilisation held in the Russian Federation. 

I stress that it is partial mobilisation. Only those who are currently in reserve will be conscripted, and also those who served in the army and have certain military skills. They will be given additional military training, taking into account the special military operation.

The decree has been signed, officially the chambers of the federal assembly and Duma will be informed. 

The mobilisation will start today on 21st September, I task the heads of regions to provide all necessary assistance to military commissioners. I stress that Russian citizens called up as part of mobilisation will be given all the guarantees, all the benefits of those serving under contract

The decree of partial mobilisation includes additional measures to safeguard the state procurement for the defence concerning military technology, and additional capacities for its production. 

All the financial matters for supplying defence factories shall be resolved without delay.

In its aggressive anti-Russian policies, the West has crossed all lines. 

We constantly hear threats against our people and some irresponsible politicians in the West are talking about not just providing Ukraine with long-range military systems that will be able to hit Russia – that is already happening, we’re talking about the border regions, in Belgorod and systems using strategic drones, planes, doing reconnaissance across the south.

There are plans in Washington and Brussels to move the military action on to Russian territory. 

There are not just talking about Russia being destroyed on the battlefield, they are talking about political, cultural, and all other types of sovereignty with complete pillage. Now they’re talking about nuclear blackmail.

The Zaporzhzhia nuclear power plant was shelled. Also the high representative of leading NATO states were saying that it might be permissible to use nuclear weapons against Russia.

Those who make such statements will be reminded that our country also has various weapons of destruction and with regard to certain components they are even more modern than the NATO ones.

If there is any threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to protect our people we will certainly use all means available to us. I’m not bluffing.

Russia citizens can be certain that the territorial integrity of our motherland, our independence and security will be assured. I shall stress – by all means available to us

And those trying to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the tables can turn on them

In our historic tradition our people had it in their destiny to stop those how are trying to subjugate our motherland and it will happen now. 

I believe in your support.


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