THE world is “one mistake” from all-out nuclear war thanks to Vladimir Putin’s “dangerous games” in Eastern Europe, warns an ex-Navy chief.
Moscow is amassing 100,000 troops on its Ukrainian border and is also supporting Belarus dictator Alexander Lukashenko as he “weaponises” migrants against the EU.
Admiral Lord West told The Sun Online the situation “is extremely dangerous and risky” with Putin playing “games in the area of grey warfare – things short of war.”
He continued: “In terms of the nuclear clock, I think we are closer to midnight than we’ve been certainly since the 1960s probably.
“And that’s because of Russia’s silly behaviour in Eastern Europe.”
The nuclear clock – sometimes called the Doomsday Clock – is a symbol originating from 1947 which represents the likelihood of a global disaster.
The ex-Navy chief said one mistake could lead to an all-out nuke conflict between the West and Moscow.
He said: “By miscalculation, things could accelerate and you could end up fighting and no one wanting it and then it only takes a little step for someone to do something stupid like using one missile.
“Because one missile means more missiles are used and so on.
“When you play silly games things can happen by miscalculation. That’s the worry.”
On Russia’s partnership with China, Lord West believes in the short term, Putin is a bigger threat to Europe than the two nuclear powers combined.
He said: “Right now it suits Russia and China to work together, but in reality, Russia is scared of China and they need to be with that huge land border with China with its huge population and the empty part of Russia which has all sorts of minerals.
“For the moment, they are working together because they see the West as hostile to them.
What we’ve got to do is get back round the table and start getting agreements going to stop the nuclear clock moving towards that midnight hour,
Admiral Lord West
“You can treat Russia and China as two separate threats and the Russian threat to Europe is much more immediate than the Chinese threat.
“Putin’s actions against Europe – and I’d include the Salisbury poisoning in that – make him highly dangerous.”
The former military boss says the only way to seize control of the situation is to start talking to Russia’s strongman leader.
“What we’ve got to do is get back round the table and start getting agreements going to stop the nuclear clock moving towards that midnight hour,” he said.
Earlier this month, Russia warned relations with the West are “almost at boiling point” as tensions surge over migrants at the Poland-Belarus border.
With Nato and Russian forces playing cat and mouse games, Putin said he would “simply destroy” any country that encroached on his country’s territory.
Isabel Sawkins, a research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society specialising in Russia, said if Putin and China were to attack American forces, the UK would have to step in.
She told The Sun Online: “Europe is going to get caught up in the mess. We need to make sure that we are ready in case there are after strikes – and we have to go in. We have to be on guard basically.
“America would not be able to fight Russia and China by itself. America would need western partners and I think one of the first ones they would come to is us.”
And Putin’s regime has been accused of stoking the unfolding migrant crisis between Belarus and Poland and even sent their own nuclear bomber jets into the area.
Belarus – dubbed Europe’s last dictatorship – has been accused of “weaponising” migration against the EU sparking a tense stand-off along their border with Poland with troops on both sides.
This comes after the European Union sanctioned Belarus following its brutal crackdown on anti-regime protestors following a disputed general election result.