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Sir Richard Shirreff Screengrab/BBC
post cold war

Former Nato general warns that the west is risking a nuclear war with Russia

Western relations with Russia have been strained since the country annexed Crimea in March 2014

A RETIRED SENIOR general with Nato has said the west is risking a nuclear war with Russia - as soon as next year.

Sir Alexander Richard Shirreff, the former deputy commander of Nato, said his prediction could become a reality within a year if Nato doesn’t strengthen its defence capabilities in the Baltic states – something it is already planning to do.

The British general has written a book on the subject called 2017: War with Russia.

Western relations with Russia have been at their lowest point since the Cold War after the country annexed Crimea in March 2014. Shirreff has argued that this could escalate sharply in the coming months.

Shirreff predicts that Russia could seize territory in eastern Ukraine and open up a land corridor to Crimea.

The Guardian reports that, at the book’s launch, he said Putin could invade the Baltic states and then threaten nuclear action if Nato said it would intervene.

Vladimir Putin

In an interview with the BBC he said, given the current tension, an attack on the Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, is “entirely plausible”.

He said that Russian President Vladimir Putin has invaded Georgia, Crimea and Ukraine “and got away with it”.

He also criticised cuts to defence spending in the UK, saying: “For Britain to step back now having made such a song and dance about other nations raising their defence budgets to 2%, for Britain now to dip below 2%, has a massive credibility impact on Britain’s position in Nato.”

Read: Ukraine snatches Eurovision crown from Australia

Read: These colourised photos bring pre-communist era Russia to life

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