Putin warns West of harsh response if it crosses Russia’s unspecified ‘red lines’

By | April 22, 2021

Reuters reports:

President Vladimir Putin warned the West on Wednesday not to cross Russia’s “red lines”, saying Moscow would respond swiftly and harshly to any provocations and those responsible would regret it.

At a time of acute crisis in ties with the United States and Europe, with Russian troops massed near Ukraine and opposition leader Alexei Navalny on hunger strike in jail, the Kremlin leader used his state of the nation speech to project a message of Russian strength and defiance in the face of outside threats.

“We want good relations…and really don’t want to burn bridges,” Putin told both houses of parliament.

“But if someone mistakes our good intentions for indifference or weakness and intends to burn down or even blow up these bridges, they should know that Russia’s response will be asymmetrical, swift and harsh.”

Russia would determine where its red line lay in each specific case, he said, comparing those who attack it to hyenas led by a tiger. [Continue reading…]

Bloomberg reports:

Russia said it will begin pulling thousands of troops back from areas near the Ukrainian border starting Friday, in a step that could calm strains with the West that have surged in recent weeks.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy welcomed the move, saying in a tweet it “reduces tension.”

The ruble gained as much as 1.4% against the dollar and the cost of insuring Russian debt against default fell the most in 10 months after the news. The Russian currency had slipped amid fears the conflict could bring new Western sanctions. Ukraine’s hryvnia rose to the highest level since April 14.

Western officials say Russia moved as many as 100,000 troops, as well as tanks, warplanes and other equipment, to areas near the border with Ukraine in recent weeks, the largest such buildup in years. The U.S. and its European allies called on the Kremlin to pull the forces back but Moscow said it’s free to deploy its military wherever needed on its territory. [Continue reading…]

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