Russian state television has lashed out at the United States in a blistering campaign against Washington policy in Syria and eastern Europe.
While American viewers watched Clinton and Trump battle it out in the presidential debate, Russia's state-controlled television stations broadcast back-to-back programs condemning the Obama administration.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov began the anti-American tirade on “Sunday Time” (Voskresnoe Vremya) on Channel One, accusing the United States of threatening Russia's national security.
He claimed that 'Russophobia' was now at the heart of American foreign policy. “This isn't just
rhetorical 'Russophobia.' It is aggression which actually endangers our
security," Lavrov said. “Sanctions [deployed against Moscow
after the annexation of Crimea] are a manifestation of these hostile
actions,” he said.
Lavrov also accused some foreign leaders of being deliberately disrespectful to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Some Western capitals can't build a [diplomatic] relationship without childish insults and tantrums,” he said.
Flagship news program Vesti Nedeli continued the theme, announcing that “relations between Russia and the United States have taken a long-expected turn for the worse.”
The program's host, Dmitry Kiselyov, hit out at the United States' role in the Syrian conflict, claiming that the country had “ignored international law.” Washington and Moscow have repeatedly disagreed on how to deal with Syria's ongoing civil war, clashing on the future of Syrian President Bashar Assad, and the designation of different opposition groups as “terrorist.”
The Russian Defense Ministry announced on Thursday that it would shoot down American aircraft if they launched a campaign against Assad.
Kiselyov also spoke about Moscow's decision to suspend a nuclear disarmament treaty, signed with Washington in 2000.
The protocol, which only came into force in 2010, stipulates that each side must dispose of 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium each year.
The Kremlin announced that the agreement had been put on hold on Oct. 3, claiming that the United States’ “unfriendly actions,” posed a “strategic threat to stability.”
“We have agreed with the Americans to destroy excess plutonium in a certain way. We've even built a special facility for this. The Americans then suddenly refused. So who actually ended this contract first?", Kiselyov said.
The decision to suspend the deal was
“an ultimatum” to U.S. President Barack Obama, Kiselyov said
warning that Russia was still “capable of transforming the United
States into charred, radioactive ash.”
"For years, America has been expanding NATO eastwards, ignoring its treaties with Moscow, arranging coups here and there, demonizing Russia, with outright lies. This couldn't go on forever. It is dangerous."
The fiery rhetoric continued on the channel's talk show “Sunday Night with Vladimir Solovyov.”
The program featured
ultra-conservative United Russia lawmaker, Irina Yarovaya, who
claimed that Moscow and
Washington had different outlooks on global politics.
"The United States
and Russia have different goals,” said
Russia offers equality
and parity, the United
States wishes to establish its
dominance, assigning itself as the sole leader
of all modern geopolitics."
Her words were echoed by the program's host, Vladimir Solovyov. "Washington and Brussels are preparing new sanctions for Russia — not only because of Kiev's failure to fulfill the Minsk agreements, but also due to the war in Syria. What are we going to do these evil people?"
Some 90 percent of Russians rely on television for their main source of news, according to a 2013 report by independent pollster the Levada Center. The three shows — "Sunday Time," "News of the Week" and "Sunday Night with Vladimir Solovyov” — are among the 20 most-watched television programs in Russia, with tens of millions people regularly tuning in.