Putin takes his nuclear football to funeral as leader fears assassination attempt

Ukraine: Zhirinovsky reveals proposed date of invasion in 2021

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The Russian leader was accompanied by a man carrying a briefcase that is capable of launching an attack remotely should the leader run into any trouble.

Putin attended the funeral of ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky in Moscow who is understood to have died from coronavirus despite boasting he had had eight Covid shots since August 2020.

During the open casket service, mourners were cleared away when the Russian president paid his respects to the deceased politician.

The move highlights Putin’s fears of a potential assassination attempt.

It was reported on Telegram: “For Vladimir Putin, the hall where people bade farewell to Zhirinovsky was completely emptied of people – even from relatives on chairs”.

While at the ceremony, he laid a bunch of red roses at the foot of the coffin before making the sign of the cross.

He died just weeks after he predicted Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

During a speech on December 22 last year, 75-year-old Zhirinovsky told MPs that Russia’s foreign policy was going in a “new direction”, and predicted Russia would invade Ukraine on February 22.

The invasion actually happened on February 23, just one day after his prediction.

Six weeks later, the far-right politician was taken ill and admitted to hospital on February 2, after rumours had been swirling over his disappearance.

Speculations grew that he had angered the Kremlin by announcing the Ukraine invasion which Putin wanted to keep secret.

Before falling ill, Zhirinvosky, who founded the Russian Liberal Democrat Party, told MPs: “Russia will finally become a great country again. And everyone has to shut up, and respect our country.

“Otherwise they will shut us up, and destroy Russians first in the Donbas, and next in the west of Russia. So let’s support the new direction in Russia’s foreign policy.”

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During his political career, the MP known for his nationalist populism said many outrageous statements including threats to launch nuclear weapons and seize Alaska from the US during one of his many anti-American speeches.

Zhirinovsky was also known for making anti-Jewish statements, despite acknowledging his father’s Jewish heritage.

He was well known for his frequent political outbursts and outrageous actions including throwing a drink over liberal opponent Boris Nemtsov, and later launching the empty glass at him, during a televised debate.

Putin’s decision to carry the “nuclear football” to Zhirinvosky’s funeral is just one of a number of ways the Russian leader appears to be preparing himself for a possible assassination, including using a body double and ensuring his protection team test his food before eating it.

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