'The world is a hair's breadth from nuclear war,' says pro-Kremlin News presenter
Russian state has claimed US President Donald Trump is more dangerous than North Korea's supreme commander, Kim Jong-un, in an apparent indication that Moscow’s opinion of the Republican has shifted.
State media in the country greeted the election of the bombastic property tycoon in November warmly, yet decisions by Mr Trump since coming into office have seen the two administrations come into conflict.
Relations slid after Mr Trump dropped a bomb on Afghanistan, accused Moscow of seizing Crimea by force and launched a missile strike against forces belonging to Russian ally Bashar al-Assad.
News presenter Dmitry Kiselyov who is known for his pro-Kremlin stance, said on his weekly TV news show 'Vesti Nedeli': “The world is a hair's breadth from nuclear war.
"War can break out as a result of confrontation between two personalities: Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. Both are dangerous, but who is more dangerous? Trump is.”
Mr Kiselyov also said Mr Trump was “more impulsive and unpredictable” than the North Korean leader. He added that both men shared the characteristics of having “limited international experience, unpredictability, and a readiness to go to war.”
Mr Kiselyov added Kim Jong-un was less scary than the US president because he was ready for talks, had not attacked other countries, and had not sent a naval armada to the US coast.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov declined to say whether Mr Kiselyov's views agreed with the Kremlin's, saying: “His position is close, but not every time."
“He (Kim Jong-un) is after all on his home territory. He doesn't plan to attack anyone just for the sake of it,” said Mr Kiselyov, who once said Moscow could turn the United States into radioactive ash.
Mr Kiselyov sarcastically told viewers that the North Korean leader's young daughter did not, unlike Ivanka Trump, have an office in her father's official residence.
After Mr Trump's surprise win in November, the Russian TV anchor had heaped praise on him, triumphantly declaring that Russia was “congratulating themselves with Trump’s election”.
He hailed Mr Trump’s shock victory saying it would restore relations between Moscow and Washington which had deteriorated following Russia's intervention in Ukraine and Syria.
But Mr Trump is yet to deliver on his pre-election promises of renewed relations with Russia and has faced pressure to distance himself from the former Soviet state amid a scandal about his team's ties to the Kremlin.
Other state-controlled and pro-Kremlin media have walked back their initial euphoria for Trump in recent weeks too, but in the past Mr Kiselyov has often set the tone, and his intervention is the most robust stance on Mr Trump yet.
Polls suggest state TV's U-turn on the US President has filtered through to the public, most of whom largely depend on TV for news.
A survey by state pollster VTsIOM showed on Monday that the percentage of Russians who hold a negative view of Trump has jumped to 39 from seven per cent in a month, and that feelings of distrust and disappointment towards him have grown too.