Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ministry Protests Zhirinovsky's Behavior

Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov lodged a rare protest with the State Duma on Monday over the behavior of ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

Last week, Zhirinovsky hurled abuse at Moscow's ambassador to Armenia, Andrei Urnov, while awaiting United Nations permission to fly on to Iraq with a humanitarian aid mission.

We "were astonished and justifiably dismayed by the unworthy outbursts of V.V. Zhirinovsky, head of the Liberal Democratic Party, who allowed himself to hurl insults in public at employees of Russia's diplomatic service," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement signed by Primakov.

"Particularly unworthy was the episode in Yerevan airport when V.V. Zhirinovsky used indecent language with the Russian Federation's ambassador to Armenia, A.U. Urnov," it said.

"Nobody is allowed to offend the dignity of a person [representing the Russian president]," said the statement, which was addressed to the lower house speaker, Gennady Seleznyov.

Zhirinovsky has accused Russian officials of lacking patriotism in standing up to Washington and of failing to give his mercy mission to Baghdad unconditional support.

Zhirinovsky finally flew to Baghdad from the Armenian capital, Yerevan, after the lower house, known as the State Duma, reached an agreement with the UN sanctions committee to cut the size of his delegation from more than 200 deputies and journalists to about 30.

On Saturday, Zhirinovsky clowned for television cameras at one of Iraq's disputed presidential sites, suggesting a toilet bowl might contain one of the banned weapons Western governments accuse Iraq of concealing.

At one point, Zhirinovsky uncovered a dusty toilet bowl that had yet to be installed and promptly sat on it.

"Here's an example of a chemical bomb," he said, pointing to the toilet.

"Here we go. I sit on it, bang and that's the end of the town!" he bellowed.

Despite Zhirinovsky's criticism of his own government, Russia has been at the forefront of diplomatic efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Iraq crisis.

Moscow has consistently opposed the use of force against Baghdad, a strong ally in Soviet times.

On Monday, Vladimir Ryzhkov, the Duma's deputy speaker, said the chamber would discuss Primakov's statement on Thursday but added that Zhirinovsky's parliamentary immunity precluded any serious punishment being meted out.

Zhirinovsky was planning to return to Moscow on Tuesday, but several other legislators will stay behind, said Alexei Mitrofanov, a leading member of Zhirinovsky's parliament faction.

They plan to stay there as a "human shield'' against possible U.S. strikes.