Hindustan Times (East UP)
Putin warns foreign rivals against ‘crossing the red line’ with Russia
MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday warned Russia’s foreign rivals against “crossing the red line” with Moscow, as he gave a state of the nation speech amid deep tensions with the West.
“In some countries, they have started an obscene custom of blaming Russia for anything,” Putin told gathered lawmakers and regional governors in a speech broadcast on national television. “It’s some kind of sport -a new kind of sport.”
The Russian president added that Moscow wants “good relations” with all members of the international community - even with those that it does not see eye to eye. “But if someone perceives our good intentions as weakness... let them know that Russia’s response will be asymmetric and harsh,” he said.
“I hope that no one will think of crossing the red line in relation to Russia. And where it will be -- we will determine that ourselves,” he added.
Putin also denounced Western silence on Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko’s claim that his security services had thwarted an alleged US plot to assassinate him.
“Everyone pretends that nothing is happening at all,” Putin said in his annual state of the nation address on Wednesday, referring to Western countries.
He spoke as a crackdown took place on countrywide opposition protests demanding the release of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. His failing health has become the latest flashpoint in worsening tensions with the West amid a massive Russian troop build up on Ukraine’s borders.
Doctors visit Navalny, say no serious health issues
Four doctors from outside Russia’s federal prison service visited Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny on Tuesday and found no serious health problems, the RIA news agency cited Russian human rights commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova as saying on Wednesday.
Several Navalny allies were detained on Wednesday at the start of a day of mass protests over his deteriorating health after three weeks on hunger strike, and as President Vladimir Putin delivered a state-of-the-nation speech.