A chilling warning over the threat of World War Three has come from Polish statesman Lech Walesa.
He spoke as Vladimir Putin made clear he will deploy the nuclear-capable Tupolev bomber to annexed Crimea, and send Iskander surface-to-surface missile systems close to Poland’s border.
The man who as a Gdansk trade union leader inspired the end of the Cold War accused the Kremlin leader of playing with fire, saying tens of millions could die.
“Putin has started a war with the whole civilized world,” ex-president Walesa told TBVN24 channel.
“He broke agreements, contracts, guarantees.
“The world cannot just leave it like this. If something like this happens, only force is left.
“How can we win, if he is boxing, and we are playing chess?
“This kind of fighting is from another epoch, which is doomed to be defeated. I do not doubt it that freedom and democracy will win.”
But if Putin attacks Poland “there will be a war which Russia will lose”, he added.
“If Russia takes a risk and attacks Poland and other countries, it will fall into pieces.
“I see what will happen to Russia. Of course, a million will be killed, ten million maybe.”
He urged that such a war must not happen.
Back from his unexplained 10-day absence from the world stage, Putin ordered Tupolev 22-M3 strategic missile-carriers to be deployed to Crimea, which he seized from Ukraine a year ago.
Meanwhile, Iskander missile systems were moved to Kaliningrad, wedged between Poland and Lithuania, as part of a Russian war game, a source confirmed.
World heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko echoed Walesa, saying Russia would eventually apologise “for the aggression and annexation of the Crimean peninsula.
GettyWladimir KlitschkoRing warrior: But Wlad has no desire to see WW3
“After what happened during the Second World War, you just cannot go ahead and flout international laws. What is happening at the moment could set off a Third World War.”
Klitschko, whose older brother Vitali is mayor of Kiev, demanded the West to be vigilant.
“I think that the European community is sleeping. Putin is doing what he wants to,” he said.
“In boxing we have a saying ‘be aggressive towards the aggressor’.
“He will not stop there if we do not show him where the limits are. He will continue to march forward.”