It is “possible” that Russia could launch nuclear missiles at London, a former adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed.
Political scientist Sergei Markov was asked whether Moscow could start a nuclear war with the UK, to which he replied “yes, it is possible”.
This comes after Putin announced a “partial mobilisation” of Russian reservists into the Ukraine war, in a dramatic speech on national television.
He also accused the West in engaging in “nuclear blackmail” and noted “statements of some high-ranking representatives of the leading Nato states about the possibility of using nuclear weapons of mass destruction against Russia”. Putin added that he was “not bluffing” that Russia has modern weapons of destruction.
And Mr Markov has since said that Russia could use its nuclear arsenal “if Great Britain continue to be aggressor against Russia, if Prime Minister of Great Britain Liz Truss still has plans to destroy Russia”.
He told the Today Programme: “People in London should understand that this threat comes from Liz Truss, who is the aggressor. Stop the war against Russia on the Ukrainian territory.”
The Russian political scientist added that a nuclear war would not kill everyone but “could kill a lot of people in the western countries”.
Mr Markov said: “It was absolutely clear that Russia has no war against Ukraine. Russia has no reason to use technical nuclear weapons against Ukrainians. Ukrainians are our brothers but Ukrainians are occupied by western countries.
“It is western countries who are fighting against (the) Russian army using Ukrainian soldiers as their slaves.”
He added: “I would say that everybody in this world now is thinking about nuclear war.
“This nuclear war could be a result of the crazy behaviour of the president of the United States Joe Biden and prime ministers of Great Britain Boris Johnson and Liz Truss.
“Biden, Johnson and Truss are fully responsible for the war in Ukraine.”
Russia currently has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world.
Though the exact number of nuclear warheads is a state secret, it is thought that Russia owns more than half of the world’s 14,000 nuclear weapons.
The tools at Russia’s disposal are also shrouded in secrecy, but intelligence estimates make for some pretty scary reading.
The Tsar Bomba - developed by the Soviet Union in the early 60s - is the most powerful nuclear weapon ever created and tested, responsible for the largest man-made explosion in human history. It had an estimated explosive power of around 50 megatons.
In 2015, information emerged that Russia may be developing a new nuclear torpedo, up to 100 megatons - twice the power of the Tsar Bomba.
The Status-6 Ocean Multipurpose System is thought to have been designed to create a 500 metre tall tsunami wave that can radioactively contaminate wide areas of an enemy’s coastline.
It is also designed to be immune to anti-missile defence systems.
The weapon is unconfirmed, but during a 2018 state-of-the-nation address, President Putin claimed that Russia was now in possession of several new classes of nuclear weapon, including a nuclear powered underwater torpedo and a nuclear powered cruise missile with effectively unlimited ranges.