An ex-adviser to Vladimir Putin has claimed UK cities could be a nuclear target for the Russian president and blamed the Ukraine war on the West as he launched into a bizarre rant on British radio.
Sergey Markov made a host of unsubstantiated claims – including that Western countries are using Ukrainian soldiers “as slaves” – before shouting down the phone line during his interview.
He threatened the West with nuclear war before he was asked any questions on BBC’s Today programme on Wednesday morning.
“Good morning to you,” the presenter said, to which the ex-Putin advisor replied: “Good morning. Well it’s not good morning … for everybody.”
He continued: “For Western countries, for you, British listeners, I would say that Vladimir Putin told us he would be ready to use nuclear weapons against Western countries, including nuclear weapons against Great Britain.
Mr Markov said “your cities will be target..” before being interrupted.
Mr Putin warned he would be prepared to use weapons of mass destruction to “protect” his country in an address to the nation on Wednesday.
“When the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, to protect Russia and our people, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal,” Russia’s president said.
Mr Markov was asked if he believed the Russian leader had made a clear threat not just to use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine but also to start a general nuclear war that would kill everyone.
He replied “not everyone” but added it “could kill a lot of people in the Western countries”.
The former Putin advisor said: “I would say that everybody in the world … is thinking about nuclear war. This nuclear war could be result of the crazy behaviour of the president of the United States, Joe Biden, and prime ministers of Great Britain, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss.”
He claimed Russia “doesn’t want everybody in the world to die” in a nuclear war but that it wanted to resolve the war in Ukraine, that he claimed was being fought by Western countries “using Ukrainian soldiers as their slaves”.
After claiming Russia wanted peace, Mr Markov was challenged by the BBC presenter who said: “You haven’t been talking much about peace, have you? You’ve just threatened us all with complete destruction, nuclear missiles coming to London, you said, and now you talk about peace.”
Mr Markov replied: “If Great Britain continues to be aggressor against Russia, if the prime minister of Great Britain, Liz Truss, still has a plan to destroy Russia, people in London should understand this threat comes from Liz Truss who is aggressor.”
He concluded the interview shouting at the presenter, claiming Russia did not invade Ukraine and blaming the West for the war.
A foreign office minister, who was the next guest on the Today programme, was asked what she made of the interview.
“More of Putin’s lies. A complete rewriting of history. A bit of sabre rattling,” Gillian Keegan said. “And talk of nuclear war is very unhelpful and we would urge calm.”
She added: “It is a serious threat but it is one that has been made before.”
Mr Markov has previously made baseless claims about the war in Ukraine to UK media, telling Sky News Volodymyr Zelensky was a “puppet” of the US and Russia invaded Ukraine to liberate it from “neo-Nazis”.
He also said Talk TV presenter Jeremy Kyle was “probably disinformed” when asked about Mr Putin being responsible for deaths in Ukraine.