Russian President Vladimir Putin has defended the Kremlin’s foreign policy, seen by western governments as agressive, saying that its actions are necessary for his country’s survival.
In his annual state-of-the-nation address at the Grand Kremlin palace on Thursday, Putin defended theannexation of Crimea in March and accused the West of using the crisis in Ukraine as a pretext to slap sanctions on Russia.
“The policy of containment wasn’t thought up yesterday, it’s been the plight of our country for many years. Whenever anyone thinks that Russia is getting too strong and independent, then these instruments are applied,” Putin said.
Russia has also been accused of supplying pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine with ammunition and manpower in a conflict that has killed more than 4,300 people.