Americans must vote for Donald Trump as president next month or risk being dragged into a nuclear war, according to a Russian ultra-nationalist ally of President Vladimir Putin who likes to compare himself to the US Republican candidate.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a flamboyant veteran lawmaker known for his fiery rhetoric, told Reuters in an interview that Trump was the only person able to de-escalate dangerous tensions between Moscow and Washington.
By contrast, Trump's Democratic rival Hillary Clinton could spark World War Three, said Zhirinovsky, who received a top state award from Putin after his pro-Kremlin Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) came third in Russia's parliamentary election last month.
Many Russians regard Zhirinovsky as a clownish figure who makes outspoken statements to grab attention but he is also widely viewed as a faithful servant of Kremlin policy, sometimes used to float radical opinions to test public reaction.
"Relations between Russia and the United States can't get any worse. The only way they can get worse is if a war starts," said Zhirinovsky, speaking in his huge office on the 10th floor of Russia's State Duma, or lower house of parliament.
"Americans voting for a president on Nov. 8 must realise that they are voting for peace on Planet Earth if they vote for Trump. But if they vote for Hillary it's war. It will be a short movie. There will be Hiroshimas and Nagasakis everywhere."