VLADIMIR Putin's right hand man chillingly warned World War 3 will be "nuclear and destructive".
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov made the grim prediction as the West remains at loggerheads with Moscow over Ukraine.
Lavrov – who yesterday saw diplomats walk out of his speech at the United Nations – became the latest figure to raise the spectre of World War 3.
Russia and Ukraine remain locked in the biggest war in Europe since the Nazi war machine rolled across the continent in the 1940s.
And for now the West is refusing to send in troops or even impose a no fly zone under the fears of triggering a wider war with Putin.
Western officials are instead imposing crushing sanctions in a bid to strangle and starve out Putin's regime.
But amid the gestures – Kyiv today confirmed at least 2,000 civilians have been killed during Russian invasion.
Putin ramped up fears the devastating conflict could become nuclear when he ordered his nuke forces on high alert.
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The move chilled Western nations to the bone – and just days later Russia's nuclear forces began drills.
Mr Lavrov stoked fears further as he warned that Russia would be in "real danger" in Kyiv acquired nuclear weapons.
And he said Moscow would "not allow" Kyiv to obtain nukes.
🔵 Read our Russia – Ukraine live blog for the very latest updates
However, Ukraine previously gave up its nukes – and has not suggested it wants to regain the devastating weapons.
The foreign minister's comments only raise the temperature on a situation which is already at risk of boiling over.
Russia has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world – with around 6,375 warheads and a selection of high tech hypersonic weapons.
It comes as:
- Russia is preparing to unleash a new assault on Kyiv after residents were told to leave
- Some 2,000 Ukrainian civilians have been killed since the start of the conflict last week
- Joe Biden issued a speech blasting Putin – but also managed to call Ukrainians "Iranians" in yet another blunder
- Demoralised and crying Russian troops surrendered without a fight in Putin's botched campaign
- The dictator of Belarus accidentally revealed that Moldova could be the next country to be invaded.
- Putin's nuclear forces held nuclear drills with subs and land-based missiles, the country's navy said.
- Russian children were arrested at an anti-war demo in as Putin cracks down on dissent
- Russian marines mutinied on a warship as they refused to fight against Ukraine
- A boy is fighting for his life, unaware that his sister and parents were shot dead by Russians.
It comes as the horror siege of Ukraine continues as pictures showed a Russian convoy blitzed to ashes outside of Kyiv.
Putin is believed to have a massive 40-mile long convoy lingering outside the city preparing for an assault.
Russia wants to take the capital and install a puppet regime – as Putin bizarrely insists he wants to "denazify" Ukraine.
US officials however believe the attack remains on pause while under-supplied and under-equipped Russian forces wait for reinforcements.
Brave soldiers and resistance fighters have been pushing back against Putin's advance.
It is believed the deluded tyrant thought he could roll over Ukraine within just 48 hours.
Russian commanders are understood to have expected to arrive to waving flags and flowers thrown at the feet of their troops.
Instead – they were met with molotov cocktails and AK-47s.
Some 5,840 Russian troops, more than 200 tanks, and at least 60 aircraft have been destroyed, claims Ukraine.
Fighting continues across the country as Putin is feared to resort to even more brutal aerial bombardment to stamp out resistance.
Peace talks continue as well – but there are major doubts as to if they will make progress.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed his nation and said Putin wants to "erase us all".
Russia has been widely accused of war crimes over the slaughter on innocent civilians – including children.
In a video address, Zelenskyy said: "They know nothing about our capital. About our history.
"But they have an order to erase our history. Erase our country. Erase us all."
All you need to know about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Everything you need to know about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine…
- Why is Russia invading Ukraine?
- Will the UK go to war?
- How can I join the Ukraine foreign legion?
- What can I do to help Ukraine?
- Who is Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskyy?
- How much gas does the UK get from Russia?
- Is Russia a part of Nato?
- Does Russia have nuclear weapons?
- Why is Ukraine not in Nato?
- How big is the Russian army?
- What is Article 5 of the Nato treaty?
- What is the Minsk agreement?
- Which countries were in the Soviet Union?
The hero leader said a missile strike on a target at the site of a Holocaust massacre in the capital shows that "for many people in Russia our Kyiv is completely foreign".
Prime Minister Boris Johnson accused Putin of "war crimes" after he shared a phone call with Zelenskyy.
He said: "Putin has gravely miscalculated; in his abhorrent assault on a sovereign nation, he has underestimated the extraordinary fortitude of the Ukrainian people and the unity and resolve of the free world in standing up to his barbarism."
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, has said he plans to open an investigation into events in Ukraine.
Mr Johnson told MPs: "What we have seen already from Vladimir Putin's regime in the use of the munitions that they have already been dropping on innocent civilians, in my view, already fully qualifies as a war crime."
The Prime Minister said "the vice is tightening on the Putin regime" as he was urged by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to ramp up sanctions against oligarch allies of the Russian leader.
Russian troops have entered Ukraine's second city Kharkiv following days of intensive bombardment.
Ministry of Defence officials said the latest intelligence suggested Russian forces had reportedly also moved into the centre of Kherson in south Ukraine.
Artillery and air strikes have targeted built-up areas in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol and Chernihiv.
Defence secretary Ben Wallace said the Russia's advance remains slow with "low morale" and "lots of surrenders".
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden branded Vladimir Putin a "dictator".
In his first State of the Union address, he warned the West's sanction campaign to cripple Russia's economy would escalate and its oligarchs were being targeted.
Biden hailed the resolve of the Western alliance and voiced solidarity with Ukraine as lawmakers gave a standing ovation to the Ukrainian people.
"A Russian dictator, invading a foreign country, has costs around the world," he said.
The president, who had earlier spoken with Zelenskyy on the phone, announced new measures against Russia and its wealthy elite with a new task force to go after the "crimes" of Russian oligarchs.
Biden said Putin's aggression was "premeditated and totally unprovoked" – but hailed the resolve of the Western alliance in responding with brutal sanctions.
He repeated his commitment that no American troops would be sent to Ukraine to confront the invading forces.
However, a lack of will to send foreign troops into battle has given Russia space to press on with its assault on Ukrainian cities.
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