Putin hails Russia’s vaccine development in annual address

Putin hails Russia’s vaccine development in annual address”

President Vladimir Putin warned the West not to cross Russia's "red line" in their actions or face a tough response, while holding out an offer of strategic talks amid spiralling tensions with the West.

He said Russian Federation wants to have good relations "including with those (countries) with whom relations have not been developing recently, to put it mildly". "Those who organize any provocations threatening our core security interests will regret their deeds more than they regretted anything for a long time". "And where it will take place - we will determine in each specific case ourselves", said Putin.

"Russia's response will be asymmetric, quick and harsh".

SEVERAL DOCTORS HAVE been prevented from seeing Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in a prison hospital after his three-week hunger strike.

In St. Petersburg, police blocked off Palace Square, the vast space outside the Hermitage museum and protesters instead crowded along nearby Nevsky Prospekt.

Navalny began the hunger strike to protest prison officials' refusal to let his doctors visit when he began experiencing severe back pain and a loss of feeling in his legs.

"We are extremely concerned that the current danger to Mr Navalny's life, his most recent incarceration and the past attacks on him, including an attempt against his life last August with the nerve agent Novichok. are all part of a deliberate pattern of retaliation against him for his criticism of the Russian government and a gross violation of his human rights", the United Nations experts said. He added that the development of the nuclear-armed Poseidon underwater drone and the Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile is continuing successfully. In his speech, he denounced foreign governments' alleged attempts to impose their will on Russian Federation.

The tough talk comes one week after the United States issued new economic and diplomatic sanctions against Russian Federation for its efforts to interfere in the US elections and its cyberattacks on USA companies and institutions.

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The U.S., Poland, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic have all recently expelled Russian diplomats, for differing reasons, resulting in reciprocal punitive action by Moscow.

What steps the USA would take against Russian Federation if Navalny dies remain unclear, however.

"Russia has its own interests, which we will defend in line with the global law", Putin said during Wednesday's address. "And if someone refuses to understand this obvious thing, does not want to conduct dialogue, chooses a selfish and arrogant tone, Russian Federation will always find a way to defend its position".

"The practice of organizing coups and planning political assassinations of top officials goes over the top and crosses all boundaries", Putin said, drawing parallels to plots against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and the popular protests that led to the ouster of Ukraine's former Russia-friendly president, Viktor Yanukovych, in 2014. Since then, fighting there has killed more than 14,000 people and devastated the industrial heartland.

President Vladimir Putin will deliver a state-of-the-nation speech to Russians on Wednesday.

Addressing the Federal Assembly, Putin said "the meaning and content" of Russia's policy in the global arena is "to ensure peace and security for the well-being of our citizens, for the stable development of the country".

Much of the rest of Putin's speech dealt with domestic issues, particularly its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to help its weak economy recover from the toll the virus has taken.

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