Putin ally tells Americans: vote Trump or face nuclear war

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Americans should 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 U.S. 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.

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President Obama and Putin at G-20
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President Obama and Putin at G-20
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) meets with U.S. President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China, September 5, 2016. Sputnik/Kremlin/Alexei Druzhinin/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) meets with U.S. President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China, September 5, 2016. Sputnik/Kremlin/Alexei Druzhinin/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
U.S. President Barack Obama pauses during his remarks in a news conference at the conclusion of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China September 5, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Barack Obama holds a news conference at the conclusion of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China September 5, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) meets with U.S. President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China, September 5, 2016. Sputnik/Kremlin/Alexei Druzhinin/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference after the conclusion of the G-20 Summit in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang Province, Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

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 realize 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."

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Zhirinovsky's comments coincide with deep disagreements between Washington and Moscow over Syria and Ukraine and after the White House last week accused Russia of a campaign of cyber attacks against Democratic Party organizations.

Even as WikiLeaks released another trove of internal documents from Clinton's campaign on Wednesday, Putin insisted his country was not involved in an effort to influence the U.S. presidential election.


Zhirinovsky likes to shock liberal public opinion and he has frequently heaped scorn on the West, which he and other Russian nationalists regard as decadent, hypocritical and corrupted by political correctness.

His combative style, reminiscent of Trump's, ensures him plenty of television air time and millions of votes in Russian elections, often from the kind of blue-collar workers who are the bedrock of the U.S. Republican candidate's support.

Zhirinovsky once proposed blocking off mostly Muslim southern Russia with a barbed wire fence, echoing Trump's call for a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

Zhirinovsky, who said he met Trump in New York in 2002, revels in his similarities with the American businessman - they are the same age, favor coarse, sometimes misogynistic language and boast about putting their own country first. Zhirinovsky has even said he wants a DNA test to see if he is related to Trump.

But unlike Trump, a billionaire real estate developer who casts himself as the anti-establishment candidate in the U.S. presidential race with no past political experience, Zhirinovsky is a consummate political insider who has sat in the Duma for more than two decades.

RELATED: Republican leaders who won't support Trump

Republicans coming out against Donald Trump
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Republicans coming out against Donald Trump

Arizona Senator John McCain: "I will not vote for Donald Trump."

(Photo by Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney: Trump's "vile degradations ... corrupt America's face to the world."

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte: "I will not be voting for Donald Trump."

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush: "No apology can excuse away Donald Trump's reprehensible comments degrading women."

(Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images)

Texas Senator Ted Cruz: Trump's comments are "disturbing and inappropriate, there is simply no excuse for them."

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham: "I have never been comfortable with Donald Trump as our Republican nominee."

(Photo by Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summit)

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice: "Donald Trump should not be President."

(Photo by Vladimir Shtanko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

South Dakota Senator John Thune: "Donald Trump should withdraw and Mike Pence should be our nominee effective immediately."

(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski: "I cannot and will not support Donald Trump for president."

(Photo by Matthew Busch/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse: Donald trump "is obviously not going to win [and should] step aside."

(Photo credit SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Idaho Senator Mike Crapo: Donald Trump should step aside due to "disrespectful, profane and demeaning" behavior.

(Photo by Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Utah Senator Mike Lee: Donald Trump is a "distraction.

(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Maine Senator Susan Collins: Donald Trump is "unsuitable for the presidency ... I [can] not support his candidacy."

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Texas Senator John Cornyn: "I am disgusted by Mr Trump's words about women."

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Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman: "The time has come for Governor Pence to lead the ticket."

(Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)

Utah Representative Mia Love: Stated she "cannot vote for" Donald Trump. 

(Photo credit SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Ohio Senator Rob Portman: "I can no longer support [Trump]."

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Colorado Representative Mike Coffman: Donald Trump should withdraw "for the good of the country."

(Photo By Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Missouri Representative Ann Wagner: "I withdraw my endorsement and call for Governor Pence to take the lead" in the race.

(Photo via REUTERS/Gary Cameron)

Nevada Representative Joe Heck: "I believe our only option is to formally ask Mr. Trump to step down."

(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake: Donald Trump is "wrong about his level of support. He needs to withdraw from the race."

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Virginia Representative Barbara Comstock: Trump's remarks were "disgusting, vile, and disqualifying."

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Illinois Senator Mark Kirk: Donald Trump is a "malignant clown — unprepared and unfit to be president of the United States."

(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan: "I will support Governor Mike Pence for President."

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Colorado Senator Cory Gardner: Donald Trump's flaws are "beyond mere moral shortcomings ... I cannot and will not support someone who brags about degrading and assaulting women."

(Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

New Jersey Representative Scott Garrett: Has stated he is "appalled" by Trump's actions.

(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer: "It would be wise for [Trump] to step aside."

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard: "Enough is enough. Donald Trump should withdraw in favor of Governor Mike Pence."

(AP Photo/James Nord)

Former New York Governor George Pataki: "Enough! [Trump] needs to step down."

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Former GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina: "Donald Trump does not represent me or my party."

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Michigan Representative Fred Upton: Donald Trump needs to "step down."

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Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam: Trump should "step aside and let Gov. Mike Pence assume the role as the party's nominee."

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Utah Governor Gary Herbert: "I will not vote for Trump."

(Photo by James MacDonald/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley: "I cannot and will not vote for Donald Trump."

(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

California Representative Steve Knight: Trump's comments were "inexcusable."

(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)


Putin has also praised Trump as "very talented," while the Republican candidate has said the Kremlin boss is a better leader than U.S. President Barack Obama. Clinton has accused Trump of being too cozy with Putin and questioned his business interests in Russia.

In other comments that have delighted Moscow, Trump has questioned the value of NATO for Washington, has spoken ambiguously about Russia's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimea and suggested that the United States under his leadership would adopt a more isolationist foreign policy.

"He (Trump) won't care about Syria, Libya and Iraq and why an earth should America interfere in these countries? And Ukraine. Who needs Ukraine?," said Zhirinovsky, who once counted himself a friend of Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi and whose deaths he still laments.

"Trump will have a brilliant chance to make relations more peaceful ... He's the only one who can do this," he said, adding that Trump could even win a Nobel peace prize.


In contrast, Zhirinovsky described Clinton as "an evil mother-in law" and said her record as secretary of state under Obama in 2009-2013 showed she was unfit to lead her country.

"She craves power. Her view is that Hillary is the most important person on the planet, that America is an exceptional country, as Barack Obama said," said Zhirinovsky. "That's dangerous. She could start a nuclear war."

In typically chauvinistic remarks, Zhirinovsky said Clinton's gender should also bar her from the presidency.

"Most Americans should choose Trump because men have been leading for millions of year. You can't take the risk of having one of the richest, most powerful countries led by a woman president," he said.

Asked about lewd comments Trump made about women in 2005 that have harmed his campaign, Zhirinovsky defended the Republican: "Men all round the world sometimes say such things that are just for their comrades. We must only consider his business (and political) qualities."

Though Putin and Trump have never met, Zhirinovsky said he believed they could establish a close working relationship, adding: "Victory for Trump would be a gift to humanity. But if Hillary Clinton wins it will be the last U.S. president ever."

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