VLADIMIR Putin has brought the world to the brink of a nuclear apocalypse – and the danger may be greater than ever, a former KGB spy has warned.
Jack Barsky, a notorious sleeper agent who spent a decade spying on the US during the Cold War, gave the dire warning when he said the world was facing “dangerous times”.
The 73-year-old compared the situation to the turbulent days of the Cold War – when the world was one decision away from Armageddon at least three times.
But he explained that the world now has the added complication that Russia has an aging, poorly maintained nuclear arsenal – all of which increases the risk of an incident that could escalate into a third world war.
Tensions between Ukraine and Russia have flared dramatically in recent days, with an apparent drone attack on the Kremlin on Wednesday.
Footage showed a flying object bursting into flames over the fortress in central Moscow – where the president has his office and apartment.
The Kremlin claimed the US was behind the attack after accusing America of being a direct participant in the war with intent to inflict a “strategic defeat” on Russia.
A chilling nuclear warning was also issued by Putin’s former Satan 2 hypersonic missile, Dmitry Rogozin, following the alleged assassination attempt on the Russian president.
He called on Vlad to launch nuclear weapons on Ukraine in retaliation for the bold attack, which was firmly rebuffed by Ukrainian President Zelenskyy.
“We are not attacking either Putin or Moscow. We fight on our territory. We defend our villages and towns,” he said.
Drone strikes and forceful rhetoric in recent weeks have all contributed to simmering tensions between the warring factions amid fears one wrong move could trigger nuclear Armageddon.
Barsky believes Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was the “biggest mistake” of his life – with his decision likely based on questionable intelligence or willful ignorance.
However, he disagreed with some pundits and insiders who suggested Putin could be deposed – instead saying Russia’s future is really and truly tied to Mad Vlad.
“[Putin] is not suicidal and all his threats to use nuclear weapons are justified
Romping is meant to be intimidating,” Barsky told The Sun Online.
“However, when voltages are high, the possibility of an accidental launch increases.
“Also, I am concerned about the state of Russia’s nuclear arsenal, which is quite old and may not have been maintained as well as it should be.
“We are indeed living in very dangerous times.”
He added: “[The Soviet Union] knew that the moment they dropped a single nuclear bomb on NATO, everyone would die.
“However, there were three situations where misunderstanding or error brought the world close to nuclear destruction.”
Russia has always been vocal about its readiness for nuclear combat, but it seems many of its rusting missiles aren’t up to the task.
Just a few days ago, three Russian missiles missed their targets in Ukraine, narrowly missing apartments on their own territory.
Some of Vlad’s aging warheads were designed decades ago and will most likely need refurbishment or complete replacement after being put into storage.
Without the ability to test the aging munitions with their new components, it’s impossible to tell if they might still work.
This combined with nervous Russian fighters means the risk of a doomsday attack could be higher than ever.
It was revealed last month that a Russian fighter jet had attempted to shoot down an RAF spy plane over the Black Sea in what would have been interpreted as an act of war.
The Russian pilot believed he had ground clearance to pin the British fighter plane with 30 crew members on board.
However, an attack on a NATO ally was narrowly averted when the missile malfunctioned and missed its intended target.
Russia has repeatedly dangled the sword of nuclear destruction over Ukraine and the West — hinting that it could unleash the devastating weapons if certain red lines are crossed.
And this week it was reported that the West had managed to dissuade Ukraine from attacking Moscow, fearing that such a move could trigger a nuclear response from Russia.
“The Ukraine war was Vladimir Putin’s biggest mistake because [he] underestimated the iron will of the Ukrainian people to fight as bravely as they did,” Barsky said.
He explained that Putin’s decision to invade last February – a move that cost him nearly 200,000 troops and left Russia an international pariah – was likely based on questionable intelligence and his own arrogance.
“After 24 years of unchallenged power, Putin has learned to believe
only in himself. He is now sure that he is always the smartest
person in the room,” Barsky said.
“It’s understandable that many people in Putin’s government play it safe and only tell him what they think the president wants to hear.”
His assessment was supported by leaked documents revealed by The Sun Online – which showed Putin’s own cronies were afraid to tell him the truth about the invasion of Ukraine.
Vlad is said to have expected his army to march across the border as liberators – but instead they met fierce resistance.
The disastrous failure of Putin’s original plan to cross Ukraine and capture Kiev in just a few days has turned the war into a bloody, meat grinder-like brawl through the trenches.
And now the world is waiting to see what Ukraine will do next to launch a counteroffensive.
Barsky believes the war will only end if one or both sides lose the will to fight – at which stage a negotiated peace is out of reach.
He does not believe there is a faction in Russia strong enough to oust Putin – who has successfully consolidated his power after rising through the ranks of the KGB.
The former sleeper agent explained that Vlad was a very average agent – more of a mid-level bureaucrat within the spy service than a hardman hitman and spy.
KGB sleep agent in New York
JACK Barsky worked as a sleeper agent for the KGB in New York for a decade.
He was born as Albrecht Dittrich in East Germany and was recruited into the Soviet secret service when he was just 20 years old.
When he told his family he was working as a diplomat, Dittrich quickly found himself a spy and was sent to Moscow in 1975.
And then, just three years later, he was sent to the United States as a sleeper agent – under the name Jack Barsky.
The name was stolen by the KGB from a child who died in 1955 at the age of 10.
Barsky told his family he was on a five-year mission to the Baikonur Cosmodrome, a top-secret facility at the headquarters of the Soviet space program.
He snuck into America via Mexico – flown in with a Canadian passport, Barsky’s birth certificate and $6,000 in cash.
His job was to get close to US President Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski.
The spy spent ten years maintaining contacts and sending information back to Moscow from his New York apartment.
And then, just years before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the KGB turned on him.
He was sent a secret signal – a splatter of red paint on a subway platform – telling him to report immediately to the Soviet embassy in Canada.
However, Barsky decided he did not want to return – fearing for the well-being of his young daughter Chelsea.
Another spy approached him and told him he would end up dead if he didn’t compile – but instead he lied to his handlers and told them he had HIV.
And so Barsky stayed in the US and lived a quiet life until he was busted by the FBI in 1994.
But he was never charged with any crimes and was allowed to become a US citizen in 2014.
His mother in the Soviet Union died before she ever learned the truth about her son.
Since then, Barsky has worked as a spy analyst, even helping the FBI.
However, Putin was “smart” and used “street fighter” instincts to rise through the ranks – and created a network of allies who helped him consolidate his power as he became a politician.
Vlad became Prime Minister of Russia in just 10 years from a KGB office in Dresden.
And because of those deep-rooted connections he’s forged in the Kremlin over the past quarter-century, Barsky believes Vlad is here to stay — with little will to depose him.
“During Putin’s reign, well over 100 wealthy businessmen died under suspicious circumstances,” he told The Sun Online.
“The alternative, a coup d’état by a coalition of military and
Secret services are also unlikely.
“The group of powerful men directly under Putin are ruthless and power-hungry.
“They don’t trust each other.
“For a conspiracy to succeed, all members must keep the planned coup top secret.
“If just one betrays the group, all the others will die.”
He added: “The likelihood of Putin dying of natural causes
Causes are greater than the alternatives.
“Despite the loss of sons and husbands in the Ukraine war, the majority of the Russian people still support Putin and the war.
“One of the strongest traits of the Russian national character is the fear of invasion.”
Barsky added: “Vladimir Putin has spent his entire career in grooming
this fear by blaming everything that wasn’t working well in me
Russia mainly on NATO.”