President Vladimir Putin showcased Russia’s military might in his annual State of the Nation Address to parliament Thursday.
CGTN’s Jessica King reports.
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The record length speech ran one hour and 55 minutes, and was delivered just 17 days ahead of the election Putin hopes will deliver him a fourth term in office.
Complete with videos and animations, the president’s address demonstrated newly developed weapons, including an underwater nuclear drone, a supersonic weapon and what Putin called an “invincible” nuclear missile that could travel anywhere in the world and evade existing anti-missile systems.
Putin insisted that the new weaponry was merely for defensive purposes, but added that he hoped his presentation would “sober up any potential aggressor.”
In an indirect threat, the Russian president said his country has been trying to maintain a dialogue with the West over nuclear weapons but has been ignored. “Listen to us now,” he warned.
Putin specifically named the U.S. and voiced concerns over the country’s new nuclear approach. He also said any attack on Russia’s allies would be treated as an attack on Russia itself and met with “instant” retaliation.
The unveiling of the new weapons capabilities came in the latter half of a speech that was primarily focused on domestic issues, including living standards and life expectancy.
Putin laid out many pledges to improve quality of life for Russians ahead of this month’s election that will pit him against seven challengers for the presidency.
The address was was well received by listeners. Lawmakers in the audience gave several standing ovations and the Russian national anthem was played as the president walked off stage.
Ambassador William Courtney discusses President Putin’s annual address
To discuss the topics and substance of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual address and the possible impact that it could have to global relations, CGTN’s Asieh Namdar spoke with former U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan and Georgia, Ambassador William Courtney.