Russian President Vladimir Putin stoked fear of nuclear war by bringing a secret case containing the codes to remotely launch a nuclear attack to the Moscow funeral of a politician on Friday.
According to media reports, Putin was accompanied by a man in a dark suit carrying the briefcase – the Russian equivalent of the U.S. President’s “nuclear football” which contains launch codes for the country’s nuclear weapons – while attending the funeral of ultranationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
As Putin paid his respects to the open casket, mourners at Christ the Saviour Cathedral were cleared out of the way to avoid any chance of an assassination attempt.
The hall was reportedly completely emptied of people, even relatives were made to leave.
Putin entered the church carrying red roses but caused a stir due to the “secret nuclear briefcase” that a man walking behind him was carrying, the Sun reported.
Russian media has said in the past that there are three nuclear briefcases, each handled by the highest ranking Russian officials.
Photos of Putin with the nuclear briefcase have stirred fears of a nuclear confrontation given that weeks ago the Russian president put his country's nuclear arsenal on high alert after the invasion of Ukraine.
“[Russia] retains a large and varied nuclear capability to threaten the United States and our allies and partners, and we have heard very provocative rhetoric concerning Russia’s nuclear force alert levels from Russian senior leaders,” General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said this week.
Russia has the world’s largest number of nuclear weapons – estimated to be around 6,257 – including warheads capable of hitting the U.S., according to Scientific American.
(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)