When Russian President Vladimir Putin gave his military the greenlight to cross the country’s western border into eastern Ukraine, experts, commentators, academics and even politicians floated the idea that World War 3 was near. Yet, more than six months later, any sign that direct conflict might move into the wider world has yet to be realised. The war has remained within Ukraine, with on-the-ground and aerial fighting continuing today, mostly in the eastern and south-eastern regions that were captured by Russia early on.
In recent months, politicians around the have repeatedly warned of “war fatigue”: as the battle draws out, they say, people will become desensitized to the horrific events and lose the ability to assess the extent to which developments could affect them.
Just last month United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the world is “just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation”.
Others, like Dr Yuri Felshtinsky, author of ‘Blowing up Ukraine: The Return of Russian Terror and the Threat of World War III’, have taken a long-term view of the war, claiming it is just the beginning of a far-reaching and monumental turning point in history.
The Russian-American academic, who left the former Soviet Union in the Seventies for the US, told Express.co.uk that he had been shouting about the dangers of Russia and Putin “for years” before the February invasion.
Vladimir Putin: The Russian President does is not willing to call and end to the war (Image: GETTY)
While Dr Yuri says he is glad that the world “now sees how dangerous Putin is, how dangerous the regime is, how dangerous Russia is today,” his assessments of the war are bleak: “I would argue that February 24 will be written in future textbooks as the beginning of World War 3.
“The question now is: How long will this war continue? And what price will we pay for the victory?”
He believes that Putin “will lose” this future war but that Western powers must assess how much damage Russia would manage “to inflict on the rest of the world” before being defeated.
In the days after February 24, 2022, maps, graphics and stories showed how Russia’s nuclear and missile capabilities were within touching distance of almost all of Europe, the UK and even the US.