Vladimir Putin saw his popularity skyrocket after Russia invaded Ukraine this summer, but now it appears that the Russian people are growing tired of the country's global conflicts, which have some worried about a possible World War 3.
A new poll found that Putin's popularity sank in recent weeks, with fewer than half of Russians now saying they would vote to re-elect their president. The poll, conducted between September 26 and 29, found that 49 percent of respondents would vote for Putin. An identical poll in August found that 57 percent would vote or Putin.
Putin's administration sees little reason for concern in the poll numbers, with spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying "ratings are not a constant. They're numbers that are inclined to fluctuate." The poll numbers remain high compared to earlier this year, when just 29 percent of voters said they would re-elect Vladimir Putin.
Putin has led Russia into a number of conflicts in the Baltic region, including a suspected Russian sub entering Swedish waters outside Stockholm last week. Russia has also boosted its nuclear capabilities in the region, a buildup just weeks after Putin allegedly threatened to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine if the conflict continued.
The Russian president has denied allegations that he is seeking to take over areas in the region with large ethnic Russian populations, possibly sparking World War 3.
"Statements that Russia is trying to reinstate some sort of empire, that it is encroaching on the sovereignty of its neighbors, are groundless," he said.
Vladimir Putin has also taken aim at the United States, using the term "unilateral diktat" to describe America's approach to foreign policy. He also said that Western powers were responsible for escalating the conflict in Ukraine.
"Instead of a difficult but, I underline, civilized dialogue they brought about a state coup," he said. "They pushed the country into chaos, economic and social collapse, and civil war with huge losses."
If the poll numbers continue to sink, the United States may not have to worry about Vladimir Putin sparking a World War 3 --- at least not after the next election, which takes place in 2018.