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Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared martial law following threats to use nuclear weapons.
The despot has introduced the measures in the occupied Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, which Russia claimed to annex.
He said: "Now we need to formalise this regime within the framework of Russian legislation. Therefore, I signed a decree on the introduction of martial law in these four subjects of the Russian Federation."
READ MORE: Nuclear war threat makes world 'more dangerous than it's been at any point since WW2'
Speaking on Russian TV to members of the security council, Putin also said Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin is to head a new coordinating council to work with regions across the country to boost the war effort.
He added that the new measures would increase Russia's economic and industrial stability, thus boosting his "special military operation".
"We are working on solving very complex, large-scale tasks to ensure a reliable future for Russia, the future of our people," he said.
This latest escalation comes nearly eight months after Putin first sent tanks over the border into Ukraine.
The Russians have suffered a series of defeats following a major Ukrainian counter-offensive launched at the start of last month.
Putin has threatened to use "all means" at his disposal in response to Western support for Ukraine.
"This is not a bluff," he said.
Yesterday (Tuesday, October 18), UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace rushed off to Washington over fears Putin may detonate a nuclear weapon over the Black Sea.
Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said Mr Wallace was meeting with his US counterpart for “the sort of conversations that [are] beyond belief really, the fact we are at a time when these sorts of conversations are necessary”.
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Some experts say World War Three may be closer than ever before.
Sir Peter Ricketts, the British Government's former National Security Adviser and head of the Diplomatic Service, said: "The international situation is more dangerous and unpredictable than at any time since the end of World War Two.
"We are seeing the largest war in Europe since the Second World War.
"We are seeing cities being smashed apart by artillery fire.
"NATO is now returning to its initial purpose from 1949 – defending NATO member states' territory."
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- Breaking News
- Vladimir Putin
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