Vladimir Zhirinovsky: Russian ultranationalist leader and MP dies at 75

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By AP  with Euronews
Vladimir Zhirinovsky served as the nationalistic leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky served as the nationalistic leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, File   -  

Russian ultranationalist leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky has died at the age of 75 after “a serious and prolonged illness".

The speaker of the State Duma -- Russia's lower house of parliament -- confirmed Zhirinovsky's death on Wednesday.

The lawmaker was hospitalised with COVID-19 on February 2 and was reported to be "in serious condition" with pneumonia in late March.

As the leader of the "Liberal Democratic Party" for three decades, Zhirinovsky was infamous for making strong statements that alarmed the West.

The senior MP had called for Russia to forcefully regain control of Alaska from the United States and suggested that Russia hit former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s residence with a nuclear weapon.

Zhirinovsky even said he wanted a DNA test to see if he was related to former US President Donald Trump.

In Russia's parliament, his party routinely voted to support measures put forth by Vladimir Putin's United Russia. The Liberal Democrats -- founded in 1991 -- won just 21 seats in the 450-member Duma in the 2021 parliamentary elections.

Putin on Wednesday extended his condolences to Zhirinovsky’s family, calling the lawmaker “an experienced politician, an energetic person open for communication, a bright speaker and polemist.”