In his latest national address, Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated Moscow’s anti-Western stance and boasted of domestic achievements, all while making no mention of Transnistria following the breakaway region’s appeal for Russian “protection” on Wednesday.

Putin’s address comes two weeks prior to the presidential election, the winning of which is likely a foregone conclusion.

He also called US claims of Moscow planning to deploy nuclear weapons in space a Western “ploy.”

While Putin's tone was more optimistic than previous addresses – likely emboldened by Russian troops’ recent advances throughout Ukraine with the latter suffering from munition shortages.

Russia ‘Also Has Weapons’ to Hit West

In a likely response to French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement on potential Western troop deployments to Ukraine and the West’s continued military aid to Kyiv – albeit insufficient, Putin repeated the rhetoric that Moscow has the ability to strike the West if it wishes.

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“They have announced the possibility of sending Western military contingents to Ukraine ... The consequences for possible interventionists will be much more tragic,” he said.

Putin also reiterated Moscow’s ability to carry out nuclear strikes, which aide Dmitry Medvedev has threatened the West with repeatedly.

“They should eventually realize that we also have weapons that can hit targets on their territory. Everything that the West comes up with creates the real threat of a conflict with the use of nuclear weapons, and thus the destruction of civilization,” said Putin.

Ukraine Regains Position Near Chasiv Yar as Russia Intensifies Offensive
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Ukraine Regains Position Near Chasiv Yar as Russia Intensifies Offensive

The capture of Chasiv Yar could be both a strategic and symbolic victory for Moscow ahead of the May 9 Victory Day, but Ukraine stands defiant in its defense before Western supplies arrive.

Nonetheless, the statements were likely aimed at solidifying the domestic narrative of the invasion of Ukraine being a wider conflict with NATO.

Troops in Ukraine ‘Will Not Back Down’

Putin touted the performance of the Russian military despite its failure to reach its goals over two years of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

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However, recent advances in Avdiivka and other areas in Ukraine have given Putin a talking point.

“The combat capacity of our armed forces has increased many times over,” he said, adding that troops are “advancing confidently in a number of areas” without providing details, adding that there’s an “overwhelming support” in Russia for the war in Ukraine.

In his closing remarks, Putin also praised Russia’s troops fighting in Ukraine as “courageous” warriors who would not back down.

“I look at these courageous people, sometimes very young guys, and without any exaggeration I can say my heart fills with pride. They will not back down, will not fail and will not betray,” Putin said.

Moscow’s Nuclear Weapon Deployments in Space a “Lie”

Putin described US claims of Moscow planning to deploy a nuclear weapon in space as a “ploy” by Washington to draw Moscow into arms control talks “on their terms.”

“This is just a lie to make us look bad. And you have to remember here that for the last 15 years we have been proposing containing the use of nuclear weapons. We have all grounds possible to maintain that the whole question of our striving for strategic hegemony is nothing but a pretense,” said Putin.

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Russia revoked ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in October last year and conducted a retaliatory nuclear strike drill soon after.

Domestic Achievements and Challenges

Putin boasted of Russia’s wartime economic achievements and acknowledged minor challenges facing the nation.

He also mentioned a desire to increase arms exports in passing without providing further detail.

He said the Russian economy has grown by 19 percent and that the minimum wages will increase. He also said there will be an increase in manufacturing area by 40 million square meters, and the government will set aside 300 billion rubles ($3.2 billion) for “industrial development.”

It was previously reported that Moscow was able to raise its 2024 federal budget by 25 percent, with a staggering 70 percent increase in “national defense” spending, leading to questions in some quarters about the effectiveness of Western sanctions.

In terms of domestic challenges, Putin acknowledged Russia’s declining birth rates and mentioned plans to improve life expectancy, among other topics.

“Big families must become the norm [...] In the next six years, we have to achieve a sustainable birth rate,” he said, adding that there will be extra financial support for families.

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The concept of “big families” has been a recurring theme in Putin’s speeches, which is tied to Moscow’s wider narratives of being a beacon for traditional values.

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Comments (2)

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Dijon
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In the article about Putin's latest speech, you use the words winning and election in the same sentence. It is important to remember and report that there is no such thing as an election in Soviet Russia. The "so called" election is what it should be called. It is a charade, a cover up and a lie foisted and forced upon the nation. And "winning"? What has he ever won? You can't win something that you steal. He is afraid of anything fair, because he would lose. So let's cut the crap and stop pretending. No elections and no winning in Russia. Just play acting by a madman and his henchmen/gremlins.

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Just Victory
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Putin is engineering a demographic collapse in Russia. Millions have fled the war. Hundreds of thousands are dead or wounded. Enlistment age has been increased beyond the statistical life expectancy of Russian males. Those who left Russia will never return because they won't want to spend the rest of their lives paying reparations to Ukraine for a war they resisted. No Russian wants to raise a large family under Putin's repression. Putin can't enslave more people fast enough.

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