A Russian official on state TV made an ominous threat to the U.S. when he claimed that four nuclear weapons could take out the entirety of both coasts, according to reports.
The East Coast — from Florida to Maine — has a population of about 188 million, more than half of the U.S.
The West Coast has a population of about 54 million.
Alexei Zhuravlev, a member of the Russian parliament, said there would be “nothing left” of the coasts if Russia uses its new nuclear weapon, according to The Daily Mail.
“I will competently tell you, that to destroy the entire East Coast of the US, two Sarmat missiles are necessary and two missiles for the West Coast,” he said. “Four missiles, and there will be nothing left. They think the mushroom cloud will be taller than a high rise. That mushroom cloud will be visible from Mexico.”
The comments are the latest in a line of nuclear talk by Russian TV and propagandists. While Moscow has downplayed the use of nuclear weapons in connection to the invasion of Ukraine, it's a conversation that keeps coming up.
Russia is one of the nuclear superpowers and the threat of the weapon has led some pundits to believe that is why western countries have been reluctant to get directly involved in protecting Ukraine.
The Ukraine-Russia conflict is now in its third month, lasting longer than many experts predicted. Russian forces have made progress in Eastern Ukraine, taking control of land and cities.
Zhuravlev also spoke about Ukraine and estimated that 2 million citizens will have to be de-Nazified,” according to the report. He then added that meant they would have to be “destroyed.”
It's not the first time Russian officials have talked about de-nazifying Ukraine. President Vladimir Putin made the comments in his justification for the invasion. But it has also led some to decry war crimes.
Officials in Ukraine, the U.S. and the European Union have said they are gathering evidence of war crimes during the conflict for possible future prosecutions.