Moscow: A Kremlin-backed journalist issued a stark warning to the United States about Moscow’s nuclear capabilities on Sunday, as the White House threatened sanctions over Crimea’s referendum on union with Russia.
”Russia is the only country in the world that is realistically capable of turning the United States into radioactive ash,” television presenter Dmitry Kiselyov said on his weekly current affairs show.
Behind him was a backdrop of a mushroom cloud following a nuclear blast.
Mr Kiselyov was named by President Vladimir Putin in December as the head of a new state news agency, whose task will be to portray Russia in the best possible light.
His remarks took a propaganda war over events in Ukraine to a new level as tensions rise in the East-West stand-off over Crimea, a southern Ukrainian region which is now in Russian forces’ hands and voted on Sunday on union with Russia.
Mr Kiselyov is an outspoken defender of Mr Putin and once caused outrage by saying the organs of homosexuals should not be used in transplants.
His show portrayed the Ukrainian authorities as unable to maintain law and order. Mr Putin made a similar charge in a telephone conversation with US President Barack Obama on Sunday.
As the crisis escalated, the news in Russia has taken on shades of Soviet-era propaganda, with reporters peppering reports with references to what they say was the co-operation of some Ukrainians with the Nazis in World War Two.
There is also now growing menace in some of the reports, as well as echoes of the Cold War.
Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gifted Crimea to Ukraine in 1954, when Ukraine and Russia were both parts of the Soviet Union.
Full article: Russia can turn US to ‘radioactive ash’: Kremlin-backed journalist (The Age)