World War Three has 'already started', Russian state TV claims

World War Three has "already started" and Britain will "pay a heavy price" over its involvement in the war in Ukraine, Russian propagandists have claimed on state TV.

Olga Skabeyeva – who fronts the 60 minutes programme on the state-controlled TV channel Russia One – made the claim as Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine nears 100 days since it was launched.

Russian state TV is closely controlled by the Kremlin and is often used as a means to circulate Moscow-backed propaganda to shape public perception.

In a broadcast on Tuesday, Skabeyeva said: "Perhaps it's time to acknowledge that Russia's special operation in Ukraine has come to an end, in a sense that a real war has started: World War Three.

Russia One's Olga Skabeyeva claimed the Ukraine war has
Russia One's Olga Skabeyeva claimed the Ukraine war has 'come to an end', and World War Three has started. (Russia One)

"We are forced to conduct the demilitarisation not only of Ukraine, but of the entire Nato alliance."

Vladimir Avatkov, from the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also appeared on the programme and issued his own warning to the Western countries who are supporting Kyiv.

"We need to remember the words of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, who said that anyone who tries to interfere in the special military operation will pay a heavy price," he said.

Russian MP Oleg Matveychev agreed with the sentiment, adding that "Poland's current borders will be worthless" if it were to intervene in Ukraine.

But Skabeyeva added to his comments and directly brought in the UK by saying: "I wasn't talking just about Poland, but about Great Britain and the United States... they're all lined up!"

(Russia One)
Vladimir Avatkov, from the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, issued his own warning. (Russia One)

On the same programme earlier this month, a leading research fellow at the Institute of International Security Studies claimed the war in Ukraine was a "rehearsal" for a larger fight with Nato.

Professor Alexei Fenenko said: "For us, the war in Ukraine is a rehearsal. Rehearsal for a possible bigger conflict in the future.

"We'll test and compare Nato weapons to our own, we'll find out on the battlefield how much stronger our weapons are then theirs.

"This may be a learning experience for future conflicts."

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers an address to the participants of the Bolshaya Peremena All-Russian contest for school students via videoconference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June 1, 2022. (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Vladimir Putin's troops have failed to take Ukraine. (AP)
FILE - People walk past wrecks of military vehicles in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, April 30, 2022. Representatives of a group of nations working together to investigate war crimes committed since Russia's invasion of Ukraine are meeting Tuesday, May 31 in The Hague amid ongoing calls for those responsible for atrocities to be brought to justice. Russian forces have been accused of killing civilians in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha and repeated attacks on civilian infrastructure including hospitals and a theater in the besieged city of Mariupol that was being used as a shelter by hundreds of civilians. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, file)
Wrecks of military vehicles in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, file)
View of an apartment building damaged in an overnight missile strike, in Sloviansk, Ukraine, Tuesday, May 31, 2022. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
An apartment building damaged by a missile strike in Sloviansk on 31 May. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

The unified stance of Nato has been a key element in the devastating response to Russia, including billions of pounds in aid and military support plus swingeing sanctions targeting many of Moscow's most powerful figures.

Sweden and Finland have since applied to join the alliance.

The claims come as Putin's forces near their 100th day of fighting in Ukraine, despite Western reports claiming they expected to take over the nation in a matter of hours.

More than 30,000 Russian soldiers have died in Ukraine so far, Ukrainian armed forces have claimed, and the failure to seize control of the country and overthrow the democratically-elected government has caused the Russian government to switch tactics.

Instead of seeking control over Kyiv, Russian troops are now concentrating on seizing the Donbas region in the east, some of which was already under the control of Russian-backed breakaway rebels.