In a direct threat to Washington, Vladimir Putin has warned the United States with a counter-strike if it deploys mid-range nuclear missiles in Europe.
As he said in his annual speech to the Russian Parliament, Russia will respond with countermeasures by targeting not only missile hosting countries but also the continental United States.
Responding to Washington’s decision to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), the Russian president underlined that his country is not seeking confrontation, and it will not be the first step, but its reaction will be decisive. And he urged policymakers in Washington to figure out the dangers before proceeding to any steps.
With regard to the interior of his country, where he faces social dissatisfaction that is causing his popularity to fall, Putin has pledged that the situation of the Russians will improve “even during this year”.
“We should not wait, we will improve the situation from now on. (…) From this year (the Russians) will feel better, “he said, mainly announcing measures to support families and encourage births.
“Poverty literally crushes people (…) 19 million people today live below the poverty line. It is excessive,” he said, noting that a” social contract “could be concluded to support the population in need.
“In five years, about 9 million people will be able to benefit from such support,” he said.
“More children, fewer taxes,” the Russian president underlined as part of rectifying a drop in real incomes for the population for five years and the increase in VAT on 1 January.
The speech of the Russian President before the members of the upper and lower Duma is the first suchafter his re-election in March 2018 for a fourth term, which ends in 2024 and is considered to be the last one under the Constitution.