Putin warns US of retaliation for crossing Russia’s red line

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Foreign Desk Report

Moscow: President Vladimir Putin warned rival nations not to cross Russia’s “red line” in their actions or face a tough response, while holding out an offer of strategic talks amid spiraling tensions with the West.
“Organizers of any provocations against Russia will regret it more than ever before,” Putin said in his annual state-of-the-nation speech on Wednesday. “Russia’s response will be asymmetric, quick and harsh.” The Russian president didn’t single out any countries for criticism, saying Russia would decide where its red lines lie on a case-by-case basis. Touting Russia’s new nuclear weapons, he renewed an offer for talks with other world powers to increase strategic stability.
The ruble gained against the dollar at the end of the speech, which some observers had feared might include major new confrontational foreign-policy moves. President Joe Biden and Putin are discussing a U.S. offer for a summit even after the American leader imposed a raft of new sanctions on Russia.
With parliamentary elections due in September, Putin devoted most of the address to domestic issues, promising expanded government benefits and more spending on infrastructure to boost flagging living standards. He spoke as a crackdown took place on opposition protests demanding the release of jailed Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny. The opposition leader’s failing health has become the latest flashpoint with the West amid U.S. and European alarm at an unprecedented Russian troop build-up on Ukraine’s borders.