Bookies slash odds on Putin launching nuke strike and starting WW3 before 2023

Bookies have slashed odds of Vladimir Putin launching a deadly nuclear attack and starting World War Three by the end of the year.

The Russian despot has been steadily escalating his invasion of Ukraine in the face of humiliating defeats on the battlefield.

Last month he mobilised some 300,000 reservists to the front line and declared he was willing to use "all means" at his disposal to achieve his aims.

READ MORE: Nuclear war threat makes world 'more dangerous than it's been at any point since WW2'

He then claimed to annex four regions in Eastern Ukraine following sham referendums.

Now, cryptocurrency betting site Polymarket is allowing people to bet on "Will Russia use a nuclear weapon before 2023?".

It allows people to place money on either "yes" or "no" and will pay out the winners at the start of next year.

A description of the market reads: "This market will resolve to 'Yes' if the Russian Federation detonates a nuclear device in an offensive capacity by December 31, 2022, 11:59:59 PM ET. Otherwise, this market will resolve to 'No'.

"To satisfy a 'Yes' resolution, the detonation of a nuclear device must be in an offensive capacity (whether deliberate or accidental), must not be a test, and must be either claimed by the Russian Federation or considered by a preponderance of credible reporting and/or information from credible sources to be from the Russian Federation."

Worrying, the odds on "yes" have tumbled in the space of 24 hours.

Newsweek reported yesterday (Tuesday, October 18) that the odds were roughly 20-1, with a $1 (£0.89) bet returning $18.97 (£16.86) after on-site fees were subtracted.

Since then, news broke that UK Defence Minister Ben Wallace had rushed off to the Pentagon for talks with his US counterpart over fears that Putin could detonate a nuclear weapon over the Black Sea.

And earlier today (Wednesday, October 19) Putin announced he was introducing martial law in the four Ukrainian regions he illegally annexed.

At the time of writing, putting $1 on Polymarket's "yes" option would pay out just $13.40 (£11.91) after on-site fees, putting the odds at roughly 27-2.

People place bets on Polymarket by transferring cryptocurrency into "outcome shares" which can then be redeemed for dollars if the bet wins.

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