A FORMER CIA agent has warned the risk of an imminent nuclear war with Vladimir Putin is greater than ever.
Robert Baer fears the situation is "likely to get a lot worse" and says Russia's "unhinged" leader must be stopped now.
He says Putin's determination to pursue a war of "Russian fascism" is a result of Washington's underestimation of Moscow.
The ex-agent told Express.co.uk: "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 toward a direct conflict between NATO and Russia.
"Everyone knew about Putin’s supposedly finding God and his embrace of what can be described as Russian fascism, but on other hand no one forecast his delusions would be translated into an open-ended land war and genocide.
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"If Putin is truly as unhinged as he appears, things are likely to get a lot worse."
Baer has highlighted his concerns about the Russian President in his new book The Fourth Man.
It details the story of a KGB agent who climbed up the ranks of the US intelligence agency in the 1990s.
The agent's comments come after earlier this week, an expert warned Putin could march across Europe if he wins in Ukraine.
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Russo-Ukrainian analyst Olga Lautman said the West needs to stand up to Russia as the country's despot won’t stop at Ukraine's borders.
“Russia’s appetite won’t stop. We’ve seen it and we’ve seen that negotiations with them don’t work," Lautman told The Sun.
In a chilling warning, she said: "Their word is worth nothing, their promises are worth nothing and I think that in this case, they need to be contained because if they are not, the threat they will pose will be far greater than Ukraine."
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Meanwhile, Kremlin insiders have claimed today that Vlad was given "urgent medical assistance"after being struck down by a "sharp sickness".
The claim made by General SVR channel on Telegram suggested fell ill earlier this week while talking to his military chiefs and suffered "sharp sickness, weakness and dizziness" as he got up from his desk after a 90-minute virtual session.
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