Vladimir Putin: it's time of the most important historic events

Vladimir Putin: it's time of the most important historic events

Russian President Vladimir Putin has begun delivering his annual address to the Federal Assembly. The president will give his assessment of the situation in Russia and his vision of Russia's future plans at Moscow's Gostiny Dvor.

This is the president's first such address since April 2021.

Speaking to lawmakers during his address to the Federal Assembly on Tuesday, the Russian leader said he was making this address at a time which we all know is a difficult, watershed moment, a time of cardinal, irreversible changes around the world, the most important historic events that will shape the future of our country and our people, when each of us bears a colossal responsibility.”

The head of state noted that Russia spent many years seeking a constructive dialogue with the West, and proposing an indivisible, equality-based system of joint security, but received only a "hypocritical" reaction - NATO's expansion to Russia's borders, and missile defense umbrellas across Europe and Asia.

The Russian leader accused the U.S. and its allies of playing the "same double game" in the proxy war against Russia in Ukraine as they had in the years and decades prior in other countries.

Putin said that Russia is not at war with the people of Ukraine, but they themselves have become hostages of the Kiev regime and its Western patrons. "We are not at war with the people of Ukraine. I have already said so many times. The people of Ukraine have become hostages of the Kiev regime and its Western patrons, who have actually occupied that country politically, militarily and economically," he said.

The head of state said that Russia cannot be defeated on the battlefield.

Putin said Russia’s GDP contraction totaled 2.1% in 2022 despite the West’s projections of a 20% fall.

He noted that Russia will expand promising international economic connections, as well as build new supply corridors. "We will develop the ports of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, we will particularly focus on the North-South international corridor," he said, noting that "this will open up new routes for business cooperation with India, Iran, Pakistan, the Middle Eastern countries." "We will continue developing this corridor," Putin added.

He said that the presidential election will be held in Russia in 2024 in strict compliance with the law and democratic procedures. "I'd like to stress that elections of municipal and regional authorities due in September of this year and the presidential election due in 2024 will be held in strict compliance with the law, consistent with all democratic constitutional procedures," Putin said.