Moscow, Russia — Russian state TV recently ran a segment advising citizens to stockpile food and water as the discussion of a “catastrophic” conflict between superpowers intensified over Syria. Standing in front of an image of a nuclear explosion, an anchor for Russia’s Vesti 24 explained to viewers how to stock their bunkers with basic supplies in the event of war between the Cold War foes.
For “those who succumb to panic and decide to spend all their savings,” the newscaster recommended, they buy salt, oatmeal and other products that have a long shelf-life, according to Newsweek. He went on to explain that powdered milk lasts five years, while sugar and rice can last up to eight years, before showing videos of pasta cooking in a bomb shelter. Additionally, the presenter said that at least 30 liters of water would be necessary for personal hygiene, food preparation and drinking water.
“It should be noted that real panic isn’t here but across the ocean,” the Vesti 24 newcaster added, pointing out that sales of bomb shelters in the United States “took off” after Trump’s election.
The segment aired just before the US, UK, and France unleashed military strikes in response to allegations of chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government in the Syrian town of Douma over the weekend. Russia and the Syrian government have denied a chemical weapons attack took place, instead claiming the attack had been staged by the White Helmets, a self-purported Syria civil defense group hailed as heroes in the western world, but who supporters of the Syrian government claim act as civil defense for Islamist rebel groups operating under the auspices of being “moderate rebels.”
Russia’s Chief of the General Staff of Armed Forces, Valery Gerasimov, warned nearly a month ago that Syrian rebels were preparing to utilize chemical weapons— to be blamed on the Syrian government— as a justification for U.S. strikes on Damascus, and cautioned that “in the event of a threat to our military servicemen’s lives, Russia’s Armed Forces will take retaliatory measures to target both the missiles and their delivery vehicles.”
During an interview on Tuesday, Alexander Zasypkin, Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon, reiterated Gerismov’s warning stating, “If there is a strike by the Americans, then the missiles will be downed and even the sources from which the missiles were fired.”
“The U.S. needs to keep in mind not only the adversarial position of Russia, which of course is the case, but the Russian nuclear potential…An escalation in Syria that affects Russia may lead to a military conflict with Russia, which has an escalation trajectory towards a nuclear war,” Ariel Cohen, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, told Newsweek.