Russian President Vladimir Putin is warning foreign rivals against provocation or testing the nation’s strength, insisting Russia’s response would be “asymmetric, fast, and tough.”
The remarks came Wednesday during his annual state-of-the-nation speech, delivered to top officials and both houses of the Russian parliament, and Putin also said Russia is striving for good relations with other countries. He offered an invitation to nations to “discuss issues related to strategic weapons and ensuring global stability."
Putin went on to suggest that in some countries, however, it has become customary to “blame Russia for anything. Like it was some kind of sport.” He said Russia has been restrained and has not responded to this hostility or outright rudeness.
He continued that if someone were to take Russia’s good intentions for indifference or weakness, though, “and is willing to burn or even blow up bridges, he should know that Russia's response will be asymmetric, fast and tough."
Putin said, "I hope that no one will think of crossing the red line with Russia. And where this line will be, in every particular case, we will determine it ourselves."
The tough talk comes one week after the United States issued new economic and diplomatic sanctions against Russia for its efforts to interfere in the U.S. elections and its cyberattacks on U.S. companies and institutions.
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.