The meteor that rained down on central Russia and injured upwards of 1,000 people was not a celestial object at all, but a U.S. weapons test, claimed nationalist Russian lawmaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
Zhirinovsky, the head of Russia’s Liberal Democratic Party who is known for his nationalist views and outlandish allegations, made the startling claim to Russia’s state-owned news agency, RIA Novosti.
“Those aren’t meteors falling; it’s the Americans testing new weapons,” the Russian politician said.
The U.S. State Department could not immediately be reached for reaction to Zhirinovsky’s comment.
Zhirinovsky claimed new U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meant to warn Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov about the so-called “provocation” but had difficulty reaching his Russian counterpart, RIA Novosti reported.
Earlier this week, the U.S. State Department noted Kerry tried to speak to Lavrov about developments in North Korea and Syria.
According to Zhirinovsky and his views on the laws of physics, it’s impossible that a meteorite rained down on Russia.
“Nothing will ever fall out there,” he said, referring to outer space. “If [something] falls, it’s people doing that. People are the instigators of wars, the provocateurs.”
The meteor was traveling at around 33,000 mph and rained down over the Ural Mountains, according to the Russian Academy of Sciences. More than 1,000 people were injured when the meteorite hit Earth with the power of an atomic bomb.
Russians said they panicked as the celestial object hurdled toward the ground.
“We saw a big burst of light, then went outside to see what it was, and we heard a really loud, thundering sound,” Sergey Hametov, of Chelyabinsk, told the Associated Press.
Marat Lobkovsky said he was injured when he looked out his window to watch the meteor.
“I went to see what that flash in the sky was about,” he told the AP. “And then the window glass shattered, bouncing back on me. My beard was cut open, but not deep. They patched me up; it’s OK now.”
Zhirinovsky is both a colorful and controversial figure in Russia due to his nationalist views.
The Liberal Democratic Party leader was pelted with sour cabbage during a news conference in Kiev late last month by a woman who accused him of having “Ukrainophobia,” Radio Free Europe reported. Zhirinosky believes that the Ukraine and other former Soviet republics should join Russia.
Zhirinovsky lashed out at his bodyguards for “not doing their job properly” to prevent the sour cabbage incident and claimed the woman “was paid to do this,” the news outlet reported.
He also gained considerable media attention for his donkey video that mocked then-Russian presidential candidate Mikhail Prokhorov in February 2012. The video, which was posted to YouTube, has more than 760,000 views. Zhirinovsky drew the ire of animal rights groups for having the donkey blindfolded in the video.