Russian President Vladimir Putin warned against provoking his country in his annual State of the Union speech Wednesday, promising a swift retaliation against anyone who crossed Russian's "red lines."
Moscow will respond "harshly," "quickly" and "asymmetrically" to foreign provocations, Putin told an audience of Russia's top officials and lawmakers, adding that he "hoped" no foreign actor would cross Russia's "red lines," reports the CNBC citing a Reuters translation.
Putin also touted the country's planned investment in expanded military education, hypersonic weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles. But Russia wants peace and arms control agreements, he stressed simultaneously.
The 68-year-old leader also condemned what he described as the constant tendency of international actors to blame Russia for wrongdoing, saying it had become like a sport.
Putin also condemned what he called a coup plot against Belarus.
The warning came in his annual state of the nation address, amid heightened tension with the West over Ukraine and jailed Putin critic Alexei Navalny.
"The use of unjust sanctions is growing into something more dangerous: a coup attempt in Belarus," he said.
He backs Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who faces huge opposition.
The comments came in the final half hour of the 90-minute speech, which was predominantly focused on Russia's fight against the coronavirus pandemic and domestic economic and social issues.
The speech came against the backdrop of deteriorating tensions with the US and EU, and follows the recent imposition of sanctions on Russia from the Joe Biden administration over alleged cyberattacks, human rights violations and activity in Ukraine.