Updated | Claiming that some Americans are preparing for a coming war with Moscow, Russian state-owned television explained to the country's residents how to stock their bunkers with water and basic foodstuffs in case a war breaks out.
Warning that the potential conflict between the two superpowers would be "catastrophic," an anchor for Russia's Vesti 24 showed off shelves of food, recommending that people buy salt, oatmeal and other products that can last a long time on the shelves if they plan to hide in a bunker. Powdered milk lasts five years, while sugar and rice can last up to eight years, the newscaster explained before showing videos of pasta cooking in a bomb shelter.
The beginning of the program had a mocking tone about war fears, as pictures of nuclear explosions played in the background. A newscaster said the "real panic isn't here but across the ocean," suggesting that Americans are terrified of a war with Russia.
Nonetheless, the channel's newscasters also displayed charts explaining how much water people need to store for drinking, washing their face and hands and preparing food every day—and how that amount changes depending on the temperature of a person's bomb shelter. The program also recommended that people stock up on gas masks and read guides on how to survive war. The instructions are for "people who succumb to panic and decide to spend all their savings," the anchor said.
The program aired just one day after sources told Newsweekthat "there is a major war scare" in Moscow as President Donald Trump prepares to strike Syria in retaliation for the use of chemical weapons against civilians over the weekend. The Trump administration has said that it believes Syria's Russian-backed president, Bashar al-Assad, was responsible for the attacks and that it plans to ensure that Assad pays the price. Russian military forces have responded by saying that Moscow would meet fire with fire and will shoot down any U.S. missiles.
"If there is a strike by the Americans, then the missiles will be downed and even the sources from which the missiles were fired," warned Alexander Zasypkin, Russia's ambassador to Lebanon, during an interview on Tuesday with a television station linked to Hezbollah.
The increasingly bellicose rhetoric has sparked fears that a conflict could break out between two nuclear-armed superpowers. On Wednesday morning, Trump took to Twitter to issue a stark warning to Russia, which he accused of partnering with "a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!"
But he later walked back the statement, calling for an end to the arms race with Russia.
Correction, 4/11, 5:45 p.m.: This story and headline have been corrected to reflect that while the newscast showed pictures of nuclear explosions, it did not use the term "nuclear war." The headline was later updated to more accurately reflect the tone of the program.