Russian ambassador Vladmir Chizhov
The Russian ambassador jokes over Alaska being the next state to join the Russian Federation.BBC iPlayer

A petition on the White House website is calling for the state of Alaska to secede back to Russia.

It came only a week after Russian ambassador Vladmir Chizhov joked on TV about taking over the 49th state following speculation over Putin's next move in Europe.

More than 30,000 people have signed the petition, Alaska back to Russia, which advocates a vote for secession of Alaska from the United States and joining Russia. 

It is not known whether the signatories are Alaskans wanting to secede or the rest of the US wanting to get rid of its state and its former governor Sarah Palin.

The petition needs to reach 100,000 signatures in 30 days before the White House has to act on it.

However, a Supreme Court ruling after the American Civil War makes unilateral secession unconstitutional.

Alaska was mentioned last week by Russian ambassador Chizhov on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show

When Marr told the ambassador that US senator John McCain had warned Moldova could be next on Russia's list, Chizhov replied: "Should I tell Senator McCain to watch over Alaska?"

Marr said: "Well they've got Alaska already, it's slightly different."

"It used to be Russian," Chizhov jeered.

"Oh, ha, it's a very worrying thought," Marr said. "You're not moving into Alaska, I hope."

To which Chizhov replied: "(Laughs) I'm joking, of course. Nobody has anything to fear from Russia."

2012 Election
REUTERS

Palin had warned about Putin's expansion ambitions for Ukraine in 2008.

She said: "After the Russian army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama's reaction was one of moral indecision and equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Putin to invade Ukraine next."

The state of Alaska was bought from Russia in 1867 for £7.2m and officially became part of the Union in 1959.