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What is a cold war and will Russia and the UK get caught up in another one?

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What is a cold war and will Russia and the UK get caught up in another one?
Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing street (Picture: AFP)

You may have heard the term ‘cold war’ being mentioned recently as tensions between the UK and Russia continue to rise – but what exactly does it mean?

Well, in short it’s basically everything other than actual warfare between two countries.

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Instead the nations engage in propaganda, threats against eachother (economic or otherwise) and espionage.

There may actually be military fighting but it’s normally in the form of a proxy war, which is a war fought by two other countries with the backing of the bigger nations that are having a dispute.

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MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MARCH 16, 2018: Russia's President Vladimir Putin addresses Russian citizens ahead of the 2018 presidential election scheduled for March 18. Mikhail Klimentyev/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS (Photo by Mikhail KlimentyevTASS via Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (Picture: Getty Images)

The previous cold war was primarily fought between the Soviet Union and the United States (and its Nato allies).

The sides began to clash after Nazi Germany fell in 1945, with the hostilities lasting from about 1947 to 1991.

The Soviet Union’s intention was to maintain control in Eastern Europe by installing governments sympathetic to it.

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US President John Fitzgerald Kennedy signs the order of naval blockade of Cuba, on October 24, 1962 in White House, Washington DC, during the Cuban missiles crisis. On October 22, 1962, President Kennedy informed the American people of the presence of missile sites in Cuba. Tensions mounted, and the world wondered if there could be a peaceful resolution to the crisis, until November 20, 1962, when Russian bombers left Cuba, and Kennedy lifted the naval blockade. (Photo credit should read /AFP/Getty Images)
US President John Kennedy signs the order of naval blockade of Cuba in, 1962 during the missile crisis (Picture: Getty/AFP)
CUBA - OCTOBER 22: Prime Minister Fidel CASTRO giving a radio and televised speech during which he speaks about the measures taken by the United States regarding Cuba. In fact, following the shipment of Soviet Union missiles to Cuba during the Cold War, the United States announced a blockade of the island. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
Cuban leaderFidel Castro giving a radio and televised speech during the hostilities (Picture: Getty Images)

But the Western Bloc was concerned about the influence the Soviets would have and set up Nato to combat this.

This led to a back-and-forth between both sides that often involved the elements of cold war mentioned previously.

The key events during this conflict included the Berlin Blockade and Airlift in 1948, Korean War in 1950-53, the invasion of Hungry by the Soviets and the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.

The latter dispute was the closest the US and the Soviets came to all-out war after the Soviets threatened to build a missile system in Cuba in response to the US placing them in Italy and Turkey.

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(Original Caption) 1948-49-Berlin, Germany-The Berlin airlift brings supplies to the blockaded city of 2 1/2 million West Berliners. Children eagerly wait for plane.
The Berlin airlift brings supplies to the blockaded city in 1948/49 (Picture: Bettmann)
US marine capturing north Korean prisoners of war. Korean War 1953. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
US marine capturing north Korean prisoners of war (Picture: Getty Images)

Today the dispute between the West and the Russians has recently heated up after former double agent Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were poisoned with a nerve agent in Salisbury on March 4.

The two of them remain in a critical condition in hospital.

The Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson echoed what the Prime Minister previously said today, adding it was ‘overwhelmingly likely’ Vladimir Putin ordered the use of a nerve agent on the ex-spy.

Britain has already expelled 23 Russian diplomats in response.

The UK has been backed by several nations including the US, France, Germany and Australia.

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