A Kremlin-backed television presenter has warned that Russia could turn the United States into "radioactive dust" in the wake of the Crimean referendum.
Dmitry Kiselyov, a leading TV personality on state-controlled Rossiya 1 television, made the incendiary comments on his weekly prime time news show last night as Crimea voted 'yes' to joining the Russian Federation.
"Russia is the only country in the world realistically capable of turning the United States into radioactive ash," Kiselyov said standing in front of a large screen depicting a mushroom cloud produced by a nuclear explosion.
He also added that President Vladimir Putin is a much stronger leader than Barack Obama, pointing to opinion polls on his screen, and Americans know it.
"Americans themselves consider Putin to be a stronger leader than Obama," he said. "Why is Obama phoning Putin all the time and talking to him for hours on end?"
Kiselyov suggested President Obama's hair is turning grey because he is fretting about Russia's nuclear capacity, which could turn the US into dust in a nuclear attack.
"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," he added.
Kiselyov previously caused outrage when he called for tougher anti-gay laws and suggested homosexuals should be barred from donating blood, sperm and organs because they are not fit.
Yesterday, Crimea voted 93 per cent in favour of coming under rule of the Kremlin in a controversial referendum. Kiev said it will not recognise the results.
The US and European Union stated they would not recognise the process or the outcome and threatened Russia with further economic sanctions, targeting individuals who played a role in the referendum.