A pregnant journalist is recovering in hospital today after a pro-Kremlin political leader in Russia told two male aides to "violently rape" her at a press conference.
Nationalist Vladimir Zhironovsky launched his tirade after reporter Stella Dubovitskaya asked him an innocuous question about sanctions against Ukraine.
The founder of the far right Liberal Democratic Party began shouting wildly, before suddenly manhandling two young male aides towards the pregnant mother-of-one.
He then shouted to them: "When I say, you run to her and violently rape her."
The parliamentary reporter, who is six months pregnant, is now being treated in hospital for shock following the ordeal. Her employers, Rossiya Segodnya , are also considering legal action against the man.
Zhirinovsky has now issued a rambling apology for his words - and also offered to help the journalist with her medical expenses.
Tensions in Ukraine continue to escalate - as today the country's police and intelligence service accused Russia of staging a fatal shooting incident which left three dead in the east of the country.
The shocking incident unfolded after the journalist asked Zhirinovsky a question about what sanctions Russia could impose against the pro-Western government of Ukraine.
Zhirinovsky compared the female journalists to Irina Faraon - a Ukrainian philologist and nationalist politician and a strong supporter of her country's language and culture.
"Look at this fool Irina Faraon," he declared, "She is bursting with hatred towards Russians, but do you think she hates Russians?
"She adores them. But its uterus frenzy - she's got no lover, no husband, she's got no-one.
"And you are just the same, asking me questions on sanctions. You have got to be kind, you've got to deal with it with tenderness."
A male journalist broke into his diatribe telling Zhirinovsky: "She is pregnant, why are you attacking her?"
Zhirinovsky then pushed two of his male aides towards the journalist, shouting: "Go and kiss her. Grab her."
One approached and touched her - much to the shock of the watching press pack. Several female reporters recoiled.
At this point, another female reporter - Yulia Chuchalova from news agency Interfax - spoke up, telling the 67-year-old: "This is derogatory, humiliating - what are you doing here?"
Zhirinovsky hit back: "What are you doing intervening here, you lesbian? Get out of here."
During his abusive onslaught, he shouted: "This is no place for you if you're pregnant."
He was quoted declaring: "There are pregnant women at the Maidan (Independence Square in Kiev, scene of the Ukrainian Revolution) and here as well, druggies and what have you.
"We need healthy people. Pregnant women should not show up at work. Sit at home and look after your child, got that?"
The exchange ended with the words: "Get out of here, you d***** lesbians."
At least two of the women journalists walked out of the press conference.
Zhirinovsky now faces legal action from Ms Dubovitskaya's employer - news agency Rossiya Segodnya.
The agency's editor in chief Margareta Simonyan said: "Due to the disgusting incident in the state duma, after which our correspondent was hospitalised because of Vladimir Zhirinovsky's discourtesy, we have decided to use all legal options to punish Mr Zhirinovsky as severely as possible under the law, including by suing him."
CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden's lawyer Anatoliy Kucherena is thought to be taking her case.
He said she was in the sixth month of her pregnancy and had been treated for shock in hospital as a result of the abuse.
The politician's conduct was immediately referred to the Russian parliament's ethics commission.
Parliament chairman Sergey Naryshkin apologised for Zhirinovsky's behaviour.
The incident "casts a shadow on parliament" and "lets the country down", added Communist MP Ivan Melnikov, first deputy chairman.
MP Oleg Nilov prescribed "silence and some calm as the best medicine for rabies" while his colleague Boris Reznik described the incident as "intolerable", accusing Zhirinovsky of being "drunk on his own impunity" and "a disgrace to the Russian parliament".
- Daily Mail