‘Quick And Tough’: Putin Warns West Against Crossing Russia’s ‘Red Line’ In Annual Address

(Photo by ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images)

Olivia Ingrassia Contributor
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Russian President Vladimir Putin warned foreign nations against crossing Russia’s “red line,” promising “quick and tough” retaliation in his annual state-of-the-nation address on Wednesday.

“I hope that no one dares to cross the red line in respect to Russia, and we will determine where it is in each specific case,” Putin said, according to The Washington Post. “Those who organize any provocations threatening our core security interests will regret their deeds more than they regretted anything for a long time.”

“We really don’t want to burn the bridges,” Putin added. “But if some mistake our good intentions for indifference or weakness and intend to burn or even blow up those bridges themselves, Russia’s response will be asymmetrical, quick and tough.”

Putin’s address comes amid growing tensions with the West, including over a Russian military buildup on the nation’s border with eastern Ukraine. The United States, expressing concerns with the development, spoke with NATO about Russia’s “immediate need” to cease the troop buildup near Ukraine, the largest of its kind since 2014. 

In response, Russia warned the United States to stay away from the conflict for its “own good” before defending its actions. “There is absolutely nothing for American ships to be doing near our shores,” Deputy Foreign Ministry, Sergei Ryabkov, said

Concurrently, the Biden administration on April 15 launched sanctions against Russia for the 2020 SolarWinds hack of federal agencies and interfering in the 2020 presidential election, both of which Moscow has denied. Russia quickly retaliated by expelling ten American diplomats and closing down U.S. non-governmental organizations in the Russian federation. 

This came shortly after the United States joined the European Union in sanctioning Russia over the attempted assassination of opposition figure Alexei Navalny.

Referencing these actions in his Wednesday speech, Putin denounced the imposition of “unlawful, politically motivated economic sanctions and crude attempts to enforce its will on others.”

“Russia has its own interests, which we will defend in line with the international law,” Putin maintained. “If somebody refuses to understand this obvious thing, is reluctant to conduct a dialogue and chooses a selfish and arrogant tone, Russia will always find a way to defend its position.”

“Some countries have developed a nasty habit of bullying Russia for any reason or without any reason at all. It has become a new sport,” he said. (‘Mass Anti-Russian Psychosis’: Russia Turfs Blame For Rising International Tensions)

During this address, Putin also spoke of domestic issues, where he praised Russia’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, its development of three vaccines, and proposed incentives to help the economy recover, promising social payments supporting families with children, according to the Associated Press.