Half of Russians fear World War III: Survey

Russian paratroopers march at the Red Square in Moscow, on May 9, 2013, during Victory Day parade.

Almost half of Russians fear a third world war due to Moscow's worsening relations with the West, according to a new poll.

The survey, conducted by the independent Levada Center, found 48 percent of respondents felt opposing positions on the war in Syria could widen to a global conflict.

Ten percent of those polled "seriously fear" war while the remaining 38 percent had "some fears" about an eventual military conflict between Russia and the West.

Just over half of those asked however did support Moscow's current air campaign in Syria but only 18 percent said they followed the situation closely.

Another 52 percent of the 1,600 Russian adults polled across 48 different regions supported the Kremlin's Syria strikes and 49 percent thought Moscow should continue its involvement in the conflict.

The research body, which considers itself independent, was fined by a Russian court on October 26 for not registering as a "foreign agent".

Russia's threat to U.K.

Daniel Leal-Olivas I AFP

Meanwhile, the chief spy at the British domestic security service has told The Guardian newspaper that Russia is becoming an increasing threat to the United Kingdom.

"It is using its whole range of state organs and powers to push its foreign policy abroad in increasingly aggressive ways – involving propaganda, espionage, subversion and cyber-attacks. Russia is at work across Europe and in the UK today. It is MI5's job to get in the way of that," said Andrew Parker, Director General of MI5.

In the first ever interview by a serving British spy chief, Parker also said Russia still had intelligence officers on the ground, but a greater focus was now on cyber-warfare.

"Russia increasingly seems to define itself by opposition to the west and seems to act accordingly," said Parker.

"You can see that on the ground with Russia's activities in Ukraine and Syria. But there is high-volume activity out of sight with the cyber-threat.

"Russia has been a covert threat for decades. What's different these days is that there are more and more methods available."

You can read the full Guardian article here.