Contingency plans must be made in case Putin decides to launch a nuclear attack on the UK, a Cambridge academic has warned.
It comes as the Russian President said western countries’ sanctions on Russia are akin to a declaration of war.
Putin was quoted by Reuters, as he also reinforced that his country has to defend Russian speakers in the eastern region of Ukraine, as well as its own interests.
He said: “These (sanctions) are methods of fighting against Russia.
“These sanctions that you can see are equivalent to declaring a war – but thankfully it has not come to an actual war but we understand what these threats are about.”
He also warned that Russia would consider any third-party declaration of a no-fly zone over Ukraine as participation in the war there, while Ukrainian officials blamed Russian shelling for breaching a ceasefire arranged in two cities to evacuate civilians.
Thankfully nuclear war is unlikely as a result of the conflict in Ukraine claims Paul Ingram, who works as a researcher at the university’s Centre for the Study of Existential Risk.
However, the chance of such an escalation has increased to one-in-80. As such he believes government officials are likely ‘dusting off some of the Cold War plans from the past’.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Mr Ingram said: ‘It does look like government departments across the piece need to plan quite urgently what each of them would do in this sort of scenario.’
Government departments ‘would need to consider key services like food, shelter, drinking water and energy and telecommunications’.
‘We need to be thinking about if there was radiation, and if there was less sunlight. What are the best crops to be growing?’, the researcher added.
‘How can we ensure that seed banks are fully stocked with the seed that we would need?’
Related: World War Three ‘can only be nuclear’, Russia’s foreign minister warns