MOSCOW: Russia has warned of a World War-like scenario if its war-ravaged neighbour Ukraine joins the NATO.

If Ukraine is admitted into the US-led NATO, then the conflict in Ukraine would escalate into World War III, a Russian security council official was quoted as saying.

This announcement by Russia followed a bid by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for fast-track membership of NATO.

“Kyiv is well aware that such a step would mean a guaranteed escalation to World War three,” TASS quoted Alexander Venediktov, the deputy secretary of Russia’s security council, as saying.

Notably, if Ukraine is to secure a full membership of NATO, then all the 30 members of the military alliance would have to give their consent.

“The suicidal nature of such a step is understood by NATO members themselves,” Alexander Venediktov said.

“We must remember: a nuclear conflict will affect absolutely the whole world — not only Russia and the collective West, but every country on this planet,” Venediktov said.

He added: “The consequences would be disastrous for all mankind.”

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