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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Aisha Rimi

Putin takes ‘nuclear football’ to funeral of Russian politician

Russian President Vladimir Putin stands by the coffin of Russian Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Picture: AP

President Vladimir Putin was spotted with the Russian “nuclear football” as he attended the funeral of a far-right politician on Friday.

Mr Putin was accompanied by a man in a dark suit who was carrying a briefcase, which contains the codes needed to authorise a nuclear attack remotely.

Mourners were cleared from the Christ the Saviour Cathedral as the Russian leader paid his respects to the ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, amid fears of an assassination attempt.

At the open casket, Mr Putin picked up a bunch of roses and placed them at the bottom of the coffin and then made the sign of the cross. No armed guards were standing by the coffin when he approached to pay his respects.

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

Much like the nuclear football carried by presidential military aides in the US, the Russian nuclear briefcase, known as the “cheget”, was designed to be within reach for the president at all times. A similar briefcase is thought to accompany the minister of defence and chief of general staff.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky was a far-right politician and head of the ultranationalist Liberal-Democratic Party. He died from Covid 15 weeks after predicting in advance the date of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in a speech that annoyed the Kremlin.

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