Russian state television presenter Olga Skabeyeva said it was "time to acknowledge that maybe Russia's special operation in Ukraine has come to an end" and World War III has begun on her Rossiya-1 show.
Calling the ongoing invasion of Ukraine a campaign to "protect people in Donbas from a Nazi regime," Skabeyeva said that "the Russians will not be able to achieve victory unless they fight the whole military alliance [NATO] and demilitarize it," Al Bawaba reports.
"I have some unpleasant news ... even though we are methodically destroying the weapons that are being delivered [to Ukraine], but the quantities in which the United States are sending them force us to come up with some global conclusions," the Russian propagandist said. "Perhaps it's time to acknowledge that maybe Russia's special operation in Ukraine has come to an end, in a sense that a real war had started: World War III."
According to Al Bawaba, some online commentators suggested that Skabeyeva's comments were made to justify the Kremlin's failure to achieve the invasion's stated goals.
During the show, Skabeyeva's guests, Russian lawmaker Oleg Matveychev and Ministry of Foreign Affairs official Vladimir Avatkov, discussed the military support Ukraine is receiving from the United States and the United Kingdom, and Russian President Vladimir Putin's vow that countries "interfering" in the Russian invasion of the former Soviet nation "will pay a heavy price."
Talk on Skabeyeva's show also implied that Moscow may have set its sights on Poland next, with Matveychev saying that "Poland's current borders will be worthless" if the country offers military support for Ukraine, the Daily Mail reports.
Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, a key ally of Putin, said during a press conference that he believes Poland plans to annex parts of western Ukraine, according to Russian news agency Interfax.
Patrushev said he believes that "already a number of states are actively working on [Ukraine's] dismemberment," though he did not specify which countries.
"The so-called Western partners of the Kyiv regime are also not opposed to taking advantage of the current situation for their own selfish interests and have special plans for Ukrainian lands," Patrushev said, according to Newsweek. "Apparently, Poland is already moving to actions to seize western Ukrainian territories."
Al Bawaba reports that online reaction to Skabeyeva's show ran the gamut, from fear of possible expansion of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict to doubts of the legitimacy of such claims.
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