'Same as losing in Russian roulette': Nuclear war chances now 'one in six', warns expert

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Russian army ‘annihilated’ if they launch nuclear attack says Borrell

The chances of a devastating nuclear war breaking out between Russia and the US is now one in six or the same as losing Russian roulette, a leading scientist has warned. Max Tegmark, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, made the horrifying prediction as Vladimir Putin continues to ramp up nuclear war fears. Tensions have exploded over fears Russia could use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine, with Putin issuing threats as he staged the annexation of four occupied regions in the face of devastating losses on the battlefield.

The world is on tenterhooks as Putin issues warnings over the possible use of nuclear weapons if Russia’s occupied territories come under threat.

There are fears that with Russia failing to get the upper hand in the Ukraine war and suffering heavy defeats, he may take the extreme step of using nuclear weapons.

Professor Tegmark wrote in the blog LessWrong: “Many people have asked me what I think the odds are of an imminent major US-Russia nuclear war. My current estimate is about the same as losing in Russian roulette: one in six.”

Commenting on his research, he also tweeted: “Here’s why I think there’s now a one-in-six chance of an imminent global #NuclearWar, and why I appreciate Elon Musk and others urging de-escalation, which is in the national security interest of all nations.”

russia nuclear war vladimir putin

Russia news: The chances of a global nuclear war are ‘one in six’, an expert has warned (Image: GETTY)

vladimir putin nuclear weapons

Russia news: Vladimir Putin has sent warnings over using nuclear weapons (Image: GETTY)

The expert believes that if Russia wins the war in Ukraine, then the chances of a “Kosovo breaking away from Serbia” style situation could take place in annexed regions led by pro-Russians.

On the other hand, if Ukraine were to come out on top in the conflict with its eastern neighbour, it would be like the US losing in Vietnam.

But he warned both opposition forces would find it impossible to accept both of theise possibilites, and therefore it is more likely the war will continue.

More strikingly, with Russia’s struggles in the Ukraine war continuing, the situation could escalate – with the most extreme outcome being nuclear weapons.

READ MORE: Putin faces Chechen civil war after rebels attack Kadyrov’s militia

russia nuclear weapons

Russia news: Moscow has a vast arsenal of nuclear weapons available to it (Image: GETTY)

Professor Tegmark wrote in the blog post: “I view it as highly unlikely (<10%) that Putin would accept ‘Vietnam’ without first going nuclear, because it would almost certainly result in him being overthrown and jailed or killed.

“On the other hand, I also view it as highly unlikely (<10%) that the West would accept a ‘Kosovo’ scenario where Russia is granted a peace deal where it keeps everything it’s annexed.

“That is because if the powers that be in the West were that appeasement-minded, they would presumable have opted for a ‘Cuba’ scenario in 2021 by acquiescing to Russia’s demand that Ukraine never join NATO.

“This means that with high (>80%) probability, the current vicious cycle of escalation will end only with de-escalation into one of the intermediate outcomes (“Libya”https://www.express.co.uk/”Korea”https://www.express.co.uk/”Finland”) or with lower-case “kaboom” (Russian nuclear use in Ukraine).”

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ukraine army

Russia news: Ukrainian forces have been gaining the upper hand in the war (Image: GETTY)

On September 21, Putin chillingly warned during a national address to the nation he could use nuclear weapons if Russia’s territory comes under threat.

The Russian President reminded the West that Russia has a huge arsenal of modern weapons of destruction warning: “I am not bluffing.”

But last week, the European Union’s top diplomat Josep Borrel hit back with a vengeance, warning any Russian nuclear attack on Ukraine would result in its own forced being completely destroyed.

EU foreign policy chief said at the opening of a Diplomatic Academy in Brussels: “Putin is saying he is not bluffing.

“Well, he cannot afford bluffing, and it has to be clear that the people supporting Ukraine and the European Union and the Member States, and the United States and NATO are not bluffing neither.”

russia nuclear bases

Russia news: Putin’s bases and missile test centres mapped (Image: EXPRESS)

“Any nuclear attack against Ukraine will create an answer, not a nuclear answer but such a powerful answer from the military side that the Russian Army will be annihilated.”

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also said the circumstances in which the defence alliance might have to use nuclear weapons are “extremely remote” but warned there would be “severe consequences” if Russia made such a move.

He told a news conference after a meeting of NATO defence ministers last week: “There would be severe consequences if Russia used nuclear weapons, any kind of nuclear weapon against Ukraine.

“We will not go into exactly how we will respond, but this will fundamentally change the nature of the conflict. It means that a very important line has been crossed.”



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