Amid escalating tension between Washington and Moscow over the Ukraine crisis, a Russian journalist says his country is the only state that could turn the US into “radioactive ash.”
“Russia is the only country in the world realistically capable of turning the United States into radioactive ash,” television anchor Dmitry Kiselyov said on his weekly program on Rossiya 1.
“Americans themselves consider Putin to be a stronger leader than Obama,” he was quoted as saying by AFP.
“Why is [US President Barack] Obama phoning [Russian President Vladimir] Putin all the time and talking to him for hours on end?” he said.
He made the remarks after the exit polls showed an overwhelming majority of people in Crimea vote to leave Ukraine and join Russia.
The journalist said that Obama was very concerned about Russia’s nuclear arsenal, particularly its “dead hand” system, known as Perimeter, which was in use during the Cold War.
“Even if people in all our command posts after an enemy atomic attack cannot be contacted, the system will automatically fire our missiles from mines and submarines in the right direction,” Kiselyov said.
President Obama told his Russian counterpart that the US rejected the results of the referendum in Crimea.
Obama “emphasized that Russia’s actions were in violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and that, in co-ordination with our European partners, we are prepared to impose additional costs on Russia for its actions,” the White House said.
On Monday, the US president announced sanctions against 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials following the referendum.
The White House said officials would not rule out direct economic sanctions against Putin.