This week, Russia showed off a new nuclear missile which it boasted could devastate an area the size of Texas – and tested a hi-tech warhead which can evade Western anti-missile systems.
Earlier this month, 40 million Russian citizens took place in the biggest nuclear war ‘drill’ since the end of the Cold War – donning gas masks, and preparing to flee to bunkers.
Russian media has fanned the flames still further, with newspapers such as Moskovsky Komsomolets predicting ‘direct military confrontation’ with NATO.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a flamboyant veteran lawmaker known for his fiery rhetoric said earlier this month, ‘Relations between Russia and the United States can’t get any worse. The only way they can get worse is if a war starts.
‘If they [Americans] vote for Hillary it’s war. It will be a short movie. There will be Hiroshimas and Nagasakis everywhere.’
General Sir Richard Shirreff, Nato’s deputy supreme allied commander for Europe between 2011 and 2014, described nuclear war with Russia in 2017 as ‘entirely plausible’