Russian President Vladimir Putin is heading into a direct war with NATO, a former CIA agent has claimed.
Putin's invasion of Ukraine has seen a sub-narrative of threats against NATO and allies of the organisation since he first ordered his troops to take up arms in Ukraine in February this year.
And former CIA agent Robert Baer has claimed that the situation “is likely to get worse”.
Calling it “Russian fascism”, he told the Express: “What we have today is worse than anything during the Cold War.
“There’s no question the West had to support Ukraine but at the same time we’re inching towards a direct conflict between NATO and Russia.
"Whether or not it goes nuclear is anyone’s guess.
“Everyone knew about Putin’s supposedly finding God and his embrace of what can be described as Russian fascism, but on the other hand no one forecast his delusions would be translated into an open-ended land war and genocide.
“If Putin is truly as unhinged as he appears, things are likely to get a lot worse.”
Mr Baer also shed some light on the rumours of Putin's ill health.
Since the invasion began in February, it has been claimed that the despot has incurable cancer, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's, and that he either has just three years to live- or is already dead.
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Mr Baer said: “As for Putin’s health, I won’t comment other than to say while I was in the CIA I listened to our doctors predicting various tyrants’ demises but in the end when they finally did die the timing came as a surprise.
“After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the CIA considered the KGB a defeated force and all but stopped spying on it.
“It turns out it was a grave mistake because through the 90s the KGB was plotting its return, infiltrating everywhere it needed to.”
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“So little wonder the CIA missed the KGB hardliners behind Putin and their plans to turn back the clock, to include folding Ukraine back into the Russian empire.
“Incidentally, the more I learn about Putin’s rise the more I believe he was the frontman in a silent KGB coup rather than a mistake by Yeltsin.”
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