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Russia will “knock out the teeth” of any foreign adversary that challenges its sovereignty over any territory it claims, President Vladimir Putin warned amid escalating tensions with America.
Putin, who made the remarks Thursday while delivering televised remarks at a virtual meeting with senior officials, declined to call out any adversary or territory by name.
However his blunt threat came less than one day after his top diplomat, Sergey Lavrov, clashed with his American counterpart, US Secretary of State Tony Blinken, at a tense summit over the issue of the Arctic.
Russia is amassing a formidable array of military weapons in the Arctic – including the Poseidon 2M39, a stealth nuclear-powered torpedo that has been dubbed the “super-weapon.”
“In all times, the same thing happened: once Russia grew stronger, they found pretexts to hamper its development,” the Russian president said.
“Everyone wants to bite us or bite something off us, but those who would like to do so should know that we would knock their teeth out so that they couldn’t bite,” he continued.
“The development of our military is the guarantee of that.”
On Wednesday evening, Blinken and Lavrov huddled on the sidelines of an Arctic Council meeting in Reykjavik for a 90 minute chat.
Both in and out of the meeting, Blinken stated the US commitment to keeping the Arctic under the authority of the international community rather than one single nation.
“The Arctic is a region for strategic competition that has seized the world’s attention,” he noted.
For his part, Lavrov told reporters that he told Blinken “that we see no grounds for conflict here. Even more so for any development of military programs of some blocks here.”
Speaking to reporters after the 90-minute sit-down, a senior State Department official said that Lavrov told Blinken that Russia “agreed…that we have good cooperation at the Arctic Council on Arctic issues and that we can build on this.”
The official added that the US viewed the meeting as “an effort to test the proposition that we could build a more stable and predictable relationship” with Moscow.
“This is not a test that could be completed in the 90 minutes that we had. This is a test that will go over the course of different venues over some time. But I think it’s fair to say this was a good start,” they added, calling it a “businesslike, productive discussion”
Moscow continues to flex its military muscle in Ukraine and in the Black Sea — alongside its warning to the US to back off, which caused Biden to turn two US warships around in April that were headed to the Black Sea.
President Biden declared a national emergency last month, slapping sanctions on more than three dozen people in Russia and expelling 10 diplomats.
Putin subsequently closed off the Kerch Strait to foreign warships until next fall.
Since the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, Russia has supported pro-Russian insurgents in neighboring republics — including shoring up allied breakaway states in Georgia and Moldova.
Putin presided over the annexation of Crimea in 2014 without Ukraine’s consent in a rare present-day boundary change by force.
Russian troop deployments are often murky, but Putin’s government is believed to have deployed troops to Crimea to facilitate the 2014 annexation and to have secretly supported a pair of breakaway provinces in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region.
The Kremlin has continued to increase its military presence in the region, specifically with its naval ships in the Black Sea.
In addition to the heightened aggression at sea, top Pentagon officials briefed lawmakers last month on suspected “directed-energy” attacks against US troops, potentially by Russia.
Directed-energy weapons use lasers, microwaves and particle beams to hit and destroy their target.
With Post wires
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