A controversial Russian television anchor has warned his viewers that Moscow was the only world power able to turn the United States into "radioactive dust", as tension between the two cold war enemies is growing over Ukraine.
Dmitry Kiselyov, one of Russia's most renowned anchormen, reminded the world the Kremlin had nuclear capability as he stood in front of a large screen depicting a mushroom cloud during his weekly news programme on Rossiya state television.
"Russia is the only country in the world realistically capable of turning the United States into radioactive ash," Kiselyov said.
The anchor, who once said that homosexuals should have their hearts burnt after death, also claimed that Russia's' Cold-War-era Perimeter or Dead Hand system is still active and able to hit back at the US in case of a western 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 said.
He finally praised his patron, Vladimir Putin, saying the Russian President was a much stronger leader than Barack Obama, according to opinion polls.
"Americans themselves consider Putin to be a stronger leader than Obama," Kiselyov said.
President Putin recently appointed Kiselyov as head of Russia's newly restructured state-owned news agency Rossiya Segodnya (Russia Today), which was set up by an unexpected presidential decree to replace the longstanding Ria Novosti and Voice of Russia media outlets in December.
Kiselyov made a name for himself using his show on Rossiya television as a platform to slate Western values and home-grown government critics.
In August last year he was accused of homophobia after comments he made about a controversial law banning gay propaganda in April 2012 resurfaced on the internet.
"I think banning gays from distributing propaganda to children is not enough," Kiselyov said.
"They should be banned from donating blood or sperm, and if they die in a car crash, their hearts should be burnt or buried in the ground as unsuitable for the continuation of life."
Kiselyov also once famously compared supporters of opposition activist Alexei Navalny to those of Adolf Hitler.