If tensions between Russia and its Western counterparts continue, they could lead to “the last war in the history of mankind”, a former Russian general has warned.
Lieutenant General Evgeny Buzhinskiy, former member of Russian general staff and now the founder of a Russian think tank the PIR Center, said the growing tension following the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury was “worse than the Cold War”.
“If the situation develops in the way it is now it will end up in a very very bad outcome,” he said.
And when asked to clarify what he meant, he added: “A real war. Worse than the Cold War is a real war. It would be the last war in the history of mankind.”
Mr Buzhinskiy’s comments echo Sergey Lavrov’s declaration that East-West tensions are worse now than during the Cold War and accused Britain and the US of spreading “lies and disinformation”.
Britain has blamed Russia for the March 4 nerve agent attack, sparking a series of tit-for-tat explusions of diplomats by Britain and its allies as well as Moscow.
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Mr Buzhinskiy added: “All the actions, the pressure from the US and the West. What are you going to achieve? Is it going to achieve regime change? It’s useless. You don’t know Russians. The more external pressure there is, the Russia society is consolidated around the President.
“It may lead to nowhere. Actually but you are cornering Russia, and to corner bring Russia is a very bad thing.”
On Tuesday Russian ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatov said the British Government had put the blame for the Salisbury incident on his country without presenting any evidence.
He added: “The British authorities should answer these questions. If they choose to ignore them there are ample grounds to assume that we are dealing with a grand scale provocation organised in London aimed to discredit Russia.
“We certainly reject any notion or claim of Russian involvement in the Salisbury incident.”
Mr Filatov said the general public in Europe and some other nations did not buy the claim put forward by London, adding: “You might assume that if it is not Russia then somebody did it and you have to just look at someone who would benefit from that, either criminally or politically.
“I don’t know, but some experts have suggested quite a number of scenarios, some of them which seem plausible, involving sectors of the British Government.”
Earlier, Mr Lavrov claimed that British intelligence agencies could have been involved as part of efforts to distract public attention from the British government’s difficult talks to exit the European Union.
“There are other explanations besides those put forward by our Western colleagues, who declare that it can only be the Russians who are responsible.
“It could also be advantageous to the British government, who clearly find themselves in a difficult situation having failed to fulfil their promises to voters over Brexit.”
He said: “Many say that the situation now is worse than it was during the Cold War because some rules existed and decorum was observed back then. Now, Britain, the US and a few countries blindly following them have dropped all decorum and engaged in blatant lies and disinformation.”