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Thursday, 4 December 2014

Putin blasts West in state of nation address............

Russian President Vladmir Putin used his annual state of the nation address on Thursday to defend his nation's foreign policy and warn Russians of lean economic times ahead.
Speaking at the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Putin said recent actions he has ordered in Ukraine's Crimean peninsula and elsewhere were entirely necessary for Russia's survival.
"If for many European countries, sovereignty and national pride are forgotten concepts and a luxury, then for the Russian Federation a true sovereignty is an absolutely necessary condition of its existence," Putin told a full room of cabinet ministers, lawmakers and community leaders.
"I want to stress: either we will be sovereign, or we will dissolve in the world. And, of course, other nations must understand this as well," he said.
He said that it was not Russia's intention to get involved in an expensive arms race and that "unusual solutions" were available. He did not elaborate on what he meant by that phrase.
More than 4,300 people have been killed in eastern Ukraine in what the West and the Ukrainian government says is a conflict being fueled by arms and money from Moscow for pro-Russian separatists. Russia has mostly denied being directly involved.
Putin complained that it was "pure cynicism" that led to western sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine and that even if Russian had not annexed Crimea in March world leaders would have fabricated another reason to keep a strengthening, resurgent Russia at bay.
"No one will succeed in defeating Russia militarily," he said. "They would have been delighted to let us go the way of Yugoslavia and the dismemberment of the Russian peoples, with all the tragic consequences. But it did not happen. We did not allow it to happen," Putin said.
"The more we retreat and justify ourselves, the more brazen our opponents become and the more cynically and aggressively they behave."
Russia is expected to enter recession next year, for the first time in six years.
Its economy has been hard-hit by recent plunging oil prices that together with the sanctions are estimated to have cost Russia tens of billions in lost revenue.
On Monday, the ruble, Russia's currency, hit a record low before recovering slightly. The ruble has shed more than 40% of its value this year against the dollar. Inflation is on track to reach 10% in 2015.