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What is a world war? Russian state TV predicts World War III

What is a world war? Russian state TV predicts World War III

The head of Russia's state-run TV believes World War III could break out in the Middle East, distracting from Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine.

Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of Russia Today, raised the prospect of WW3 during a TV broadcast, suggesting it could happen "in the near future".

Speaking on the TV channel Russia-1 alongside Vladimir Solovyov, the Kremlin propagandist implied that WW3 wouldn't necessarily be bad for Russia as they wouldn't be involved.

"Will there be a World War 3? I think that World War 3 will certainly happen! There's bad news and good news about this," she said.

"The bad news is that it will happen without fail and in our lifetime. As long as a brick doesn't fall on our head tomorrow, it will happen in the near future."

The ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin continued: "A world war will definitely break out and it will break out in the Middle East. It will fire up for sure, there's no way around it.

"However tragic it is that there'll be a war and casualties, the good news in it for us is that Western powers will be distracted with that, and even though they won't completely leave us alone, they will kind of forget about us," she concluded.

Simonyan's predictions come shortly after UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps suggested the West was "moving from a post-war to pre-war world", meaning conflict could break out in the future.

Further alarming marks were made by Gen Sir Patrick Sanders, the head of the British Army, who said Brits must be prepared to support the armed forces by participating in a war if called upon to do so.

Mounting geopolitical tensions and talks of escalating wars around the world have some people believing that another world war could break out. So, let's take a look at what this means.

 (Joe Giddens / PA)
(Joe Giddens / PA)

What is a world war?

A world war describes a widespread conflict involving most of the world's major powers. World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939- 1945) are the only examples of modern-day world wars.

Interestingly, the "world war" title wasn't linked to the conflict until much later.

WWI – in which 30 countries participated and an estimated 15 million people died – wasn't identified as the first of the world wars until it became evident that another world war would follow it. In fact, it was initially thought to be "the war to end war", coined by author HG Wells.

World War II – which involved more than 70 countries and killed roughly 75 million people – was given its name in 1941, again several years after the war broke out, when US President Franklin D Roosevelt called it the “Second World War".

This could suggest that, even if a 'world war' broke out, it may not be classified as such until much later in the conflict.

The next world war will likely use nuclear weapons (PA)
The next world war will likely use nuclear weapons (PA)

Why are people talking about a third world war?

People are talking about a potential WW3 because of current geopolitical tensions around the world.

The Russia-Ukraine war, which started in February 2022, continues to show no signs of ending amid what seems like a stalemate in fighting between the nations.

More recently, tensions in the Middle East are prompting further concern about a third world war. Israel has been bombing Palestinian territories, as well as neighbouring countries like Lebanon and Syria, ever since Hamas fighters attacked Israel on October 7.

With more than 25,000 Palestinians dead, countries like South Africa have accused Israel of genocide, bringing the case in front of the International Court of Justice, while other countries have sent Israel military support.

Houthis then started infiltrating the Red Sea shipping routes, prompting the US, UK and other allies to launch military strikes into Yemen. Again, no clear route to ending the conflict is visible, and the situation could potentially escalate.

On top of that, countries such as North Korea continue to test their nuclear strength, prompting uncertainty about global nuclear security.

We're also in a super election year, and some controversial and divisive figures could potentially take power, prompting further concern about the security of many regions.

What would happen if a world war broke out?

It's hard to say what would happen if another world war officially broke out. What's clear, however, is that it would be considerably different to WWI and WWII due to technological advancements. AI, as well as nuclear and biological weapons, would likely be used.

Should global conflict emerge, countries may call upon their reserve forces or even civilians to defend their nations.

Within the UK, there's been growing talk of needing the help of civilians in any future war efforts on land. So far, however, Downing Street has ruled out the idea of calling people up to fight.

World wars often contribute to a mass displacement of people, food, and supply shortages, and a lot of lives lost.