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Putin ally sparks panic and says ‘Russia may cease to exist’ if war is lost

If Russia loses the war in Ukraine it will “cease to exist”, a state media guest has said in a startling claim. This comes as President Zelensky’s forces undertake their counteroffensive in a bid to reclaim the territory taken from them.

Pyotr Tolstoy, the deputy chairman of the lower house of the Russian parliament, said during the broadcast: “Right now, we’re in a situation where either we win in this war, or we cease to exist as a people and a nation.”

He told Russian state television host Artyom Sheynin: “Either they destroy us or we destroy them.

“Let me reiterate: the fate of our country is at stake. It’s either us or them.”

The comments come as Ukraine pushes on with its counteroffensive.

READ MORE Zelensky’s veiled threat to Putin in five word warning over where war will hit

According to the US-run think tank the Institute of War Kyiv’s soldiers have “advanced in some areas” after carrying out operations in “at least three sectors”.

Ukraine’s head of military intelligence has claimed that his troops are close to entering Crimea for the first time since unofficial troops occupied the territory in 2014.

Krylo Budanov said Ukraine‘s Armed Forces “will soon enter Crimea” as they attempt to retake the peninsula – nine years after it was annexed by Russia.

Ukraine launched its counteroffensive in several areas last month, including southeast toward Crimea via the Zaporizhzia region.

Zaporizhzhia is home to the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and experts fear that Putin may use the facility to inflict a disaster on the continent if he fears he is on the brink of defeat.

The UK’s leading bio-weapons expert Hamish de Bretton-Gordon told that the discovery of anti-personnel mines at the nuclear station is deeply concerning.

He said: “There is no reason to have anti-personnel mines with Zaporizhzhia unless you intend to fight there”.

Following the discovery by the International Atomic Energy Agency – the UN’s nuclear inspectors – at the plant on July 23, Mr de Bretton-Gordon said: “What the IAEA have not been able to do is get inside the reactors to inspect them. So I suppose it begs the question if the Russians are prepared to put mines on the outside, what is on the inside?

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“The fundamental thing is that this is the second largest nuclear power station in the world, there should be no mines within 20-30 miles of it.

The veteran, who advised the Government following the Salisbury Novichok poisoning, added: “But the realisation that there are explosives in the plant and now confirmed by the IAEA – it’s huge.

“Why are the Russians so determined to hang on to this place? The only advantage it would have would be to use it as some sort of weapon, be it an area they know Ukrainians can’t go through or other means.”

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