RUSSIA could use Belarus to launch nuclear strikes as the world enters what could be the early days of World War 3, a Putin foe has warned.
Kyiv would be destroyed in minutes if Belarus followed Mad Vlad's orders to nuke it with Moscow's missiles, warned Dr Yuri Felshtinsky.
Dr Felshtinsky, author of Blowing Up Ukraine, told The Sun Online: "We are in 1939, 1940 now and February 24 will be written in history books as the beginning of [World War 3]
"This was our September 1, 1939.
"The question is, how will this war continue and how much will we pay for it?"
The Russian-born academic, who now lives in the US, said Putin is too scared to take on Nato head-to-head in a confrontation.
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So he would instead force Minsk into launching a nuclear strike as a proxy – testing the resolve of the West.
Russia is feared to turn the war nuclear, but has been warned by Nato it would face a colossal response from the West.
"Knowing Putin and knowing how he looks for unconventional ways to deal with it, he probably would try to move nuclear weapons to Belarus," Dr Felshtinsky told The Sun Online.
"No one is talking about Belarus and the reason why I think no one is talking about Belarus is, because there is of course an order not to talk about it, but also because Putin has plans to use nuclear weapons to strike from there."
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So far, Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko – known as Europe's last dictator – has stopped short of joining Moscow in Ukraine.
But it has allowed Russia to launch drones, fighter jets and troops from within its territory – including being one of the staging areas for the initial assault on Kyiv at the start of the war.
And that could soon change after the Putin's close pal announced Minsk and Moscow would deploy a "joint military group" – and Ukraine claims Russia plans to move up to 20,000 troops into the Belarus.
And in a blow to the West in August, Lukashenko said his country's warplanes had been modified to carry nuclear weapons from Russia – and earlier this year Russia vowed to send him Iskander nuclear-capable missiles.
Lukashenko has also sparked panic among Western leaders when he baselessly accused Nato of mulling over a nuclear attack on Minsk – a comment many see a pretext for Belarus joining the war in Ukraine.
Ukrainian intelligence has reported that Putin is attempting to pressure Lukashenko to join the war in Ukraine.
And earlier this year, Belarus announced it was lifting a ban on nuclear weapons – further stoking fears.
Both the Russian and Belarus governments allow themselves to frighten and blackmail the entire Europe and Ukraine first of all with nuclear strike
Dr Felshtinsky told The Sun Online: "Russia has no conventional army and the only way to lift the nuclear threat, the West or NATO or both, must concentrate on Belarus because I don't believe Putin will use nuclear weapons from Russian territory.
"This would be absolutely suicidal for him.
"I would concentrate on Belarus and try to take Belarus out of Putin's control."
It comes as Putin and his bumbling entourage were left red faced when his prized Crimean exploded into a fireball on Saturday.
The bridge, which connects Crimea to mainland Russia and is a vital supply route for Putin's troops in southern Ukraine, partially collapsed after an explosion rocked a section of the bridge in an attack believed to have been carried out by Ukraine's secret service.
In response, Putin unleashed a flurry of rockets across Ukraine, hitting critical civilian infrastructure in a bid to "wipe Ukraine off the map", according to President Zelensky.
Putin called Kyiv a "nuclear terrorists" and warned it would hit with more devastating attacks.
He said: "If attempts to carry out terrorist attacks on our territory continue, Russia's responses will be harsh and, in terms of their scale, will correspond to the level of threats posed by the Russian Federation.
"Nobody should have any doubts about this," he said.
Dr Felshtinsky said Putin is looking for a "quick win" in Ukraine to prove to ordinary Russians that the army was in control and winning on the battlefield following a string of embarrassing losses.
"Putin is trying to claim some victory and does it mainly for Russians and to support this idea that you cannot try to take back Russian territories. It's a kind of a childish game but that's where he is at this point.
"So, he will try to annex more territory and occupy more territory. It's questionable whether he would be able to do this because after seven months of war, he has no conventional army or forces available to fight in Ukraine."
Dr Felshtinksy said the only way to stop Putin was to deliver Russia a "decisive defeat".
"When I say decisively, I mean the level of capitulation which Germany faced in 1945 or which Japan faced in 1945."
He said Ukraine has "all rights to strike preventively against Belarus and Russia" while the war is going on, especially when "both the Russian and Belarus governments allow themselves to frighten and blackmail the entire Europe and Ukraine first of all with nuclear strike".
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He said: "This war for Putin is against EU, Nato, Europe and the USA. In order to stop it within Ukrainian borders, we need to help Ukraine as much as we can with weapons and money.
"We need to give the Ukrainian army free hands to conduct this was the way which leads to the victory over Putin."
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