Russian President, Putin warns of tough action if West crosses 'red line'

The US and its allies have pressed the Kremlin to withdraw its forces
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Putin says Moscow wants ‘good relations’ with all members of the international community. (AP pic)

President Vladimir Putin issued a stern warning to the West on Wednesday, saying Moscow would react "quick and tough." if the West continued to infringe on Russia's security interests.

Putin's message came amid a major Russian military buildup near Ukraine, where cease-fire violations in the seven-year conflict between Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces have escalated in recent weeks.

The US and its allies have pressed the Kremlin to withdraw its forces.

I hope that no one dares to cross the red line in respect to Russia, and we will determine where it is in each specific case,” Putin said.

Moscow has dismissed concerns raised by Ukraine and the West about the troop buildup, claiming that it poses no threat to everyone and that Russia is free to deploy its forces on its soil.

However, the Russian government has cautioned Ukrainian authorities against using force to regain control of the rebel-held east, claiming that Russia might be forced to intervene to protect civilians in the region.

“We really don’t want to burn the bridges,” Putin said.

“But if some mistake our good intentions for indifference or weakness and intend to burn or even blow up those bridges themselves, Russia’s response will be asymmetrical, quick and tough.”

Putin emphasized Russia's efforts to modernize its nuclear arsenals, stating that the military will continue to acquire an increasing number of cutting-edge hypersonic missiles and other advanced weapons.

He also mentioned that work on the nuclear-armed Poseidon underwater drone and the nuclear-powered cruise missile Burevestnik is progressing well.