The aftermath of the Salisbury poisoning could lead to the "last war in the history of mankind", a retired Russian General has warned.
Relations between Russia and the West could become "worse" than the Cold War and "end up in a very, very bad outcome" following the nerve agent attack, Lieutenant-General Evgeny Buzhinsky said.
In response to more than 20 countries backing the UK by expelling Russian diplomats, with many believing the Kremlin was behind the nerve agent attack of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Mr Butzhinsky told BBC Radio 4:
"Please, when you say the world, you mean EU and United States and some other countries ...
"You see it's a Cold War, it's worse than the Cold War because if the situation will develop in the way this (is) now, I'm afraid that it will end up in a very, very bad outcome."
When asked to spell out what this would mean, he said:
"A real war, worse than a Cold War is a real war, it will be the last war in the history of mankind."
"You're saying that the pressure will continue, what are you going achieve? If you are going to achieve (the) regime change, it's useless, you don't know Russians. The more external pressure (there) is, the more the society is consolidated around the President."
Explaining how the situation could escalate, Mr Buzhinksy accused the West of "cornering" Russia which he argued was a "very dangerous thing".
He said: "You don't want to discuss, you say Russia should change its behaviour, it's not the kind of talk, it's not the kind of compromise we need.
"Okay, you expel diplomats, we expel diplomats, you further expel, what's the next step, the breach of the diplomatic relations ... After that, I said that it may lead to nowhere."
"Actually, you are cornering Russia and to corner Russia is a very dangerous thing."
Mr Buzhinksy branded the other countries disbelief that the Kremlin had nothing to do with the attack on March 4 as "nonsense" arguing that in this crime Russian President Vladimir Putin "is the last guy to benefit".
His comments came as Russia's foreign minister accused the UK of "putting all decency aside" over its claims that Moscow is to blame for the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.
Sergey Lavrov appeared to suggested that UK secret services may have been involved in the attack in Salisbury, which he said may have been "beneficial" to the British Government to distract attention from Brexit.
Mr Lavrov said it was "outrageous" that Britain had failed to provide consular access to Yulia Skripal, 33 since it emerged that her condition was improving.
His comments came as the Russian Embassy in London issued a series of what it termed "questions without answer" about the Skripal case - including whether the UK had ever produced the Novichok nerve agent believed to have been used in the Salisbury poisoning.