Russian President Vladimir Putin could be prepping for a new world war as relations with the United States and other Western countries continue to disintegrate, according to a reported in The New York Post and other media.
Putin has reportedly ordered top Russian officials, politicians and their children across the world demanding that they return to the Motherland, the Beirut-based Daily Star claimed.
The order comes amid rising tensions with the Obama administration over Syria and Putin’s mysterious last-minute cancellation of a planned trip to France this week.
“This is all part of the package of measures to prepare elites to some big war,” Russian political analyst Stanislav Belkovsky told the Daily Star.
Retired Russian Lt. Gen. Evgeny Buzhinsky also told the BBC that US interests would suffer if the situation escalates.
“If you want a confrontation, you’ll get one. But it won’t be a confrontation that doesn’t harm the interests of the United States. You want a confrontation, you’ll get one everywhere,” Buzhinsky warned.
The report comes as a key ally of Putin's warned that Americans should vote for Donald Trump as president next month or risk being dragged into a nuclear war.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a flamboyant veteran lawmaker known for his fiery rhetoric, told Reuters in an interview that Trump was the only person able to de-escalate dangerous tensions between Moscow and Washington.
By contrast, Trump's Democratic rival Hillary Clinton could spark World War Three, said Zhirinovsky, who received a top state award from Putin after his pro-Kremlin Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) came third in Russia's parliamentary election last month.
Russia has been angered in recent weeks by the United States withdrawing from talks in Syria and for the U.S. accusing Russian government-backed hackers for being responsible for leaked emails of Democrats ahead of the American presidential election.
Russian foreign policy analyst Fyodor Lukyanov told Agence France-Presse that Putin's canceling of the Paris trip was a "serious step" toward a return to a Cold War-type relationship to the West.
"This is part of the broader escalation in the tensions between Russia and the West, and Russia and NATO," he said.
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