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Putin blames the West for growing tensions during the year-end press conference

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In response to a compelling question about whether Russia will invade UkrainePutin said: “How would the Americans react if we deployed our missiles on its border with Canada … it’s a matter of security and you know our red lines.”
Putin was addressing accumulation of Russian forces on the border with Ukraine in recent months. He said it was simply a response to NATO’s eastward expansion and would continue to act in Russia’s interest.

“They have just shamelessly deceived us. Five waves of NATO expansion. And here it is: now they are in Romania and Poland, with weapons systems,” Putin said.

He added that Russia “does not want any military action,” but pointed to the United States and NATO, “he said. The ball is in his court. “He later added:” Sometimes I feel like we’re on different planets. ”

Putin was also asked about his country’s emerging alliance with China. He noted that China and Russia are increasing trade with each other, cooperating on human rights and tackling climate change.

Perhaps most alarming to some Western observers, he said that “China has one of the most advanced technological armies and we are working with them to develop high-precision weapons.”

The international media asked Putin about the usual criticisms of his regime. When asked about imprisoned opposition leader Alexey Navalny and his alleged poisoning, the Russian president said that neither Germany nor France – both countries that have condemned Putin for treating his opponent – have been able to provide evidence of poisoning. He then criticized the United States and the United Kingdom for having less liberal laws than Russia, erroneously claiming that the U.S. was criminalizing citizens who were not vaccinated.

    Kolya, a Ukrainian soldier, uses a hand-held periscope to view the positions of Russian-backed forces from a building on the front line on December 8, 2021 in Marinka, Ukraine.

When asked about allegations that Gazprom, the Russian-majority state-owned gas company, was drowning supplies in Europe causing prices to rise, he said “they are lying to the West all the time about this.”

Putin said Gazprom was fulfilling all its contracts, then accused Germany of selling Russian gas to Poland at a higher price. He has criticized the European Union for causing “panic, panic, panic” for Russian gas exports.

The Russian president seemed impatient to talk about his domestic agenda, saying “we are not stuck in the international agenda … we are going to the regions”, before answering questions from local media.

Naturally, many of the questions focused on Russia’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and fears about the Omicron variant.

Putin said he expects Russia to achieve up to 80% of collective immunity by 2022. He said the current level of collective immunity of 59.4% in the country is insufficient.

“This refers to both our citizens who have recovered and those who were vaccinated. Here, about 70 million received the first vaccine, about 70 million more received two injections, but that is not enough,” he told journalists.

Speaking about the threat posed by the Omicron variant, Putin added that the pandemic cannot be resolved without the global distribution of vaccines.

“I am talking about the need for mutual recognition of vaccines and the distribution of these vaccines around the world as soon as possible and in as large quantities as possible, otherwise we will not address this problem worldwide, humanity he will live there all his life. time and suffer great losses, “he said.

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