Russian TV Airs Nuclear Missile Warning for U.S., Britain

A Russian television panelist has made the latest nuclear threat on Kremlin-controlled media by saying missiles could be fired at the U.S. and the U.K.

The comment came as the fate of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant was being discussed on Monday's edition of Vremya Pokazhet (Time Will Tell) on Russia's First Channel.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is growing increasingly alarmed by military action at the facility located around 140 miles northeast of the Russian-occupied port city of Mariupol.

It has warned that bombing the plant creates a "real risk of a nuclear disaster," as Russia and Ukraine accuse each other of shelling the facility.

Russian YARS
Russian Yars ballistic nuclear missiles on mobile launchers roll through Red Square during the Victory Day military parade rehearsals on May 6, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. Russian state television has repeatedly discussed nuclear strikes on western cities supporting Ukraine in the invasion against Russian aggression. Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

"If, God forbid, the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant is damaged and a disaster happens, two missiles will instantly land in your decision-making centers," said panelist Yuri Kot, "one in Washington and the other in London."

The video was tweeted by BBC Monitoring's Francis Scarr, who wrote, "for those of you perhaps concerned about the absence of recent nuclear missile threats on Russian state TV, there was a new one today."

A State Department spokesperson told Newsweek: "We think provocative rhetoric regarding nuclear weapons is dangerous, adds to the risk of miscalculation, should be avoided, and we will not indulge in it."

Russian state television outlets have been pushing propaganda over the invasion of Ukraine in which guests and anchors have boasted about their country's nuclear weapons capabilities and threatened possible attacks.

These threats have been stepped up following the successful test of the Sarmat international continental missile (ICBM).

The TV guests have said the capitals of Western countries that back Kyiv could be targets for Russia's nuclear might, although they don't talk about Europe's missile defense systems, or the prospect of NATO retaliating if one of its members were attacked.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier this month, however, that "there can be no winners in a nuclear war and it should never be unleashed."

The military backing Kyiv has received from the U.K. and the U.S. and their allies has been a considerable bone of contention for Russia.

The U.S. and Ukraine have said the American-supplied M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) have helped Kyiv's forces hit Russian command centers and ammunition depots.

In July, Olga Skabeyeva said on the Russia-1 channel that U.S. military support for Ukraine could cause the war to spill over into a conflict between Russia and NATO, telling viewers, "we'll go all the way to Warsaw."

On Monday, Kot also took aim at western military backing for Kyiv and how the war was being framed by Ukrainian allies.

"We all understand very well that they're generating a fictional reality and then there's the real reality which we're dealing with. I think it would make sense to directly address Ukraine and the countries supporting it," Kot said.

Newsweek has contacted the British foreign office for comment.

Update 08/09/2022, 11:25 a.m. ET: This article has been updated with additional information.

Update 08/09/2022, 1:00 p.m. ET: This article has been updated with a State Department response.