A military expert has issued a chilling warning that Vladimir Putin could resort to nuclear weapons.
Dr Malcolm Davis, senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, cautioned the Russian President he faced the "end of his life" if he lost his bloody war in Ukraine.
As Ukrainian forces mount a heroic fightback, the defence security expert detailed madman Putin’s “two options” should his military operation begin to collapse.
READ MORE: Putin's butcher soldiers turn city into 'meat grinder' battlefield in 'WW1 hell'
Dr Davis spoke to Sky News Australia as Ukraine mulled long-range attacks after US military officials changed their assessments of escalation in the war.
They now think a long-range missile attack on Russian territory would not lead to a tactical nuclear attack by Putin.
But Dr Davis said any action by Ukraine – particularly that which led to the re-taking of Crimea – had the potential to ratchet up the bloody conflict.
“That’s where the risk of tactical nuclear weapon use is greatest,” Dr Davis said.
“Even with these conventional attacks on Russian targets deep inside Russia that is a blow, it certainly does undermine Putin to a degree.”
Putin's butcher soldiers turn city into 'meat grinder' battlefield in 'WW1 hell'
Dr Davis said Putin could struggle to cling to power if his invasion failed.
He added: "Putin realises if he doesn’t somehow win then he personally would be at risk in terms of [the] end of his life, so he would quite naturally seek to avoid that.
“He’s got two options I think, either flee the scene and go down to South America or somehow escalate the conflict in a way that basically makes it a much larger war."
Earlier this week, Putin said Russia could formally adopt a strategy of a "preventive nuclear first strike".
While the unhinged leader insisted his country hadn't "gone mad", he boasted about Russia's deadly nuclear arsenal and promised it was ready to deploy.
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