President Putin also said that Russia wants peace, adding that Moscow's actions in military terms are aimed at ensuring the country's safety and are defensive in nature.
He also criticised Washington's policies, calling them shortsighted, destructive, and undermining America's own interests.
Sputnik has discussed Russian President Vladimir Putin's State of the Nation address with Earl Rasmussen, executive vice president of the Eurasia Centre.
Sputnik: So Earl, what's your impression of the speech by Vladimir Putin?
And then, obviously, he brought up a concern, rightly so, as far as specifically leading into that with the US INF withdrawal and the need to ensure a proper defence for Russia.
Sputnik: I've spoken to two or three commentators, experts now about his speech today (on 20 February) they're all saying he's an excellent orator. He does know how to deliver a speech, there's no question about that. Now President Putin has warned of tit-for-tat responses to Washington's missiles in Europe, what's the idea behind the missiles and does the plan make NATO presence in the region obsolete, what's your take on that?
So I think, rightly so, he needs to look at security of Russian and when you've got NATO expanding right up to your borders and now you're putting troops and missile systems in there, that basically is a US or NATO aggression, and you need to counter that to some degree. So I think everything he's doing is in a defensive direction, I don't see it an aggression side on Russia's point, but he's actually taken a defensive posture. Does it make NATO's presence obsolete? I do not think so.
Sputnik: It was interesting to hear President Putin. He went out of his way to reiterate when he was talking about the various missiles and armaments and the Avangard system that as far as President Putin was concerned he had no desire to attack any country. He was only concerned about Russian sovereignty, his own country's people and his protection of the people and the resources. What do you think the key statements the mainstream media in America are going to highlight with regard to the things that he was saying, because after all he was promoting some specialist armaments technology that is being introduced. Have you got your view with regard to how and what they are going to focus on in terms of media attention in the US?
But I would not be surprised if that's how the media twists the statements from a defensive posture versus the need to actually address updating our security agreements. You know the other part we haven't talked about that should be a concern is that the Strategic Arms [Reduction] Treaty ends in 2021 and there's been, from my understanding, very little progress on any discussions on that and that should be of concern for many countries around the world.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of Earl Rasmussen and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.