Comment: RT has put out a set of articles highlighting different aspects of Putin's Address to the Nation. In it he has clearly articulating Russia's current thinking regarding its place in the world and what it means to defend that place.

Sovereign Russia is a given
russian air force fly over
© Reuters/Tatyana Makeyeva
A Russian Air Force flyover of the Spasskaya Tower during the Victory Day Parade
The world's largest country will forever stay independent or it will cease to exist, but this core idea is what makes Russia differ from others, Vladimir Putin said in his annual address.

"Russia was and will be a sovereign and independent state. It is an axiom, it will either be such or it won't exist at all," Putin stated in the 2019 keynote speech. He said other countries can afford being dependent, but Russia cannot.
Russia can't exist as a state if it is not sovereign.
Other countries should take this into account when engaging Moscow, the President noted. "Building ties with us is to find common solutions, including to the most complicated issues, not to dictate conditions," according to Putin.

In his previous remarks, however, the Russian president said he believes there are no countries in the world that can claim full independence from others. The modern world "is the world of interdependency," he said last week.

"Do you think European countries want missiles in Europe? Nobody wants it. But they keep silent. Where is their sovereignty?" Putin asked during his visit to Sochi, referring to US anti-missile facilities being installed across the continent.

Not an enemy of the West
trump putin helsinki
© Reuters/Kevin Lamarque
US President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018.
Despite anti-Russian actions by the US and its allies, Moscow still wants to have friendly relations with Washington, but it will neither knock on a locked door nor compromise its safety, President Vladimir Putin said.

"They call Russia pretty much the biggest threat to the US. I can tell it straight - that is not true. Russia wants a fulfilling equal and friendly relationship with the United States. Russia is not threatening anyone. All our actions in the security sphere are responsive and defensive in nature," Putin said.

The Russian president accused part of the US leadership for deteriorating relations, saying those people ignored Russia's security concerns to pursue their own geopolitical goals.
The people we deal with are energetic and very talented. Yet, the American ruling class has too many people obsessed with the idea of exceptionalism, superiority over the rest of the world. It's their right to think what they want.
"But can they count? I bet they can. So, let them count the range and speed of our advanced weapon systems, that's all we ask for. Let them count first and only then take decisions, which would pose additional and significant threats to our country," Putin said.

He stressed that Moscow is not seeking confrontation and is open to reducing its nuclear arsenal, as long as it finds in Washington a proper partner to negotiate with.

"We are prepared to negotiate on nuclear reduction, but we will no longer bang on a locked door. We will wait till our partners are ready, until they realize the need for a dialogue of equals on this issue," he said.
We need peace for a long-term sustained development. All our work on increasing our defense has only one goal - to ensure the safety of our nation and our people. To make sure that nobody would even think about aggression against Russia, or even to attempt to use military force to pressure our country.
The keynote speech delivered by Putin on Wednesday was an annual address to the Federal Assembly, which is both chambers of the Russian parliament collectively. Scrapping of the INF Treaty was the biggest foreign relations issue mentioned by Putin.

Russia will respond immediately to US missiles in Europe

Russia will immediately put into effect its response plans if the US deploys missiles in Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin said as he addressed the Federal Assembly in Moscow.
kalibr cruise missel launch Russia
© Russian Defense Ministry via Sputnik
Launch of a Kalibr cruise missile from the Russian Navy ship “Admiral Essen”.
Putin said that Russia is not going to be the first to deploy such missiles in Europe and will only act if there's a threat against it, stressing that the response will depend on the threat Moscow faces.
If they [the missiles] are manufactured and brought to the European continent, and the US has such plans, at least we haven't heard anything to the contrary, it will sharply aggravate the world's security situation and will seriously threaten Russia.
Putin stressed that some missiles of this kind may reach Moscow in less than 10-12 minutes and in case such weapons get to Europe, Russia will have to take tit-for-tat as well as asymmetrical measures.

Russia will station arms to strike 'decision centers'

If the US deploys intermediate-range missiles in Europe, Moscow will respond by stationing weapons aimed not only against missiles themselves, but also at command and control centers, from which a launch order would come.

Intermediate-range missiles were banned and removed from Europe because they would leave a very short window of opportunity for the other side to decide whether to fire in retaliation after detecting a launch - mere minutes. This poses the threat of an accidental nuclear exchange triggered by a false launch warning, with the officer in charge having no time to double check.
"Russia will be forced to create and deploy weapon systems, which can be used not only against the territories from which this direct threat would be projected, but also against those territories where decision centers are located, from which an order to use those weapons against us may come."
The Russian president, who was delivering a keynote address to the Russian parliament on Wednesday, did not elaborate on whether any counter-deployment would only target US command-and-control sites in Europe or would also include targets on American soil.

He did say the Russian weapon system in terms of flight times and other specifications would "correspond" to those targeting Russia.

"We know how to do it and we will implement those plans without a delay once the relevant threats against us materialize," he said.