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Western partners may interpret Putin’s annual address as challenge, analyst warns

The US may try to use the Russian leader’s message as an excuse for the Donald Trump administration’s current policies

MOSCOW, March 1. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual address to the Federal Assembly may be interpreted by Western partners as a challenge, program director Ivan Timofeyev, of the Russian International Affairs Council, told TASS.

"Western commentators may distort this address and misinterpret it as a challenge and an attempt to show muscle. The emphasis will be placed on torpedoes, missiles and submarines, but nothing will be said about our tasks and achievements in development, although a large part of the message addressed precisely these issues," Timofeyev said. "Also, the address contains several hints the Western partners may use for stepping up cooperation, provided they have the wish to make use of these hints."

President Putin told the Federal Assembly in his annual State of the Nation Address on Thursday that a cutting-edge cruise missile equipped with a nuclear power plant was tested late last year. On a large screen he demonstrated a computer-simulated video of the missile’s flight. As follows from the video clip, the missile is capable of flying at low altitudes over rugged terrain and water surface and cover great distances.

Timofeyev believes that the United States will try to use the Russian leader’s message as an excuse for the Donald Trump administration’s current policies.

"In the US nuclear doctrine the buildup and upgrade of nuclear forces is explained by a Russian threat, so the hawks will be using for arguments Russia’s real potential that was described in Thursday’s address," Timofeyev said. In his opinion, the Republicans will use Russia’s show of its military capabilities in support of their calls for an increase in the military budget.

At the same time, he said, Russia and the United States are interested in a dialogue on strategic stability.

"There emerge new weapons and technologies beyond the scope of the current arms control regulations. For this reason Washington and Moscow, let alone European partners, are interested in an honest and open dialogue on this theme," he said. "Regrettably, the experience of international relations shows that the path towards such a dialogue is often thorny," Timofeyev added.