Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned against any foreign attempts to challenge the territorial integrity of Russia, threatening that the countries seeking to do so would have their teeth knocked out by Moscow.
Putin cautioned foreign countries on Thursday against considering hostile actions against Russia and said taking such a course of action would have serious consequences.
“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,” the Russian leader said during a virtual meeting with senior government officials.
Putin also said that a constant upgrading of Russian military forces is the key to the country’s victory should anyone try to test their luck by claiming Russian territory.
He made no specific reference to any countries or Russia’s adversaries in his speech, but he had previously ordered the government in a decree to prepare a list of “unfriendly” states that would be subject to restrictions due to their hostile actions against Moscow.
The Russian government officially announced last Friday that it deemed the US and the Czech Republic “unfriendly” countries, saying the two countries “commit unfriendly actions towards Russia, Russian citizens or Russian legal entities.”
As a result, Moscow imposed restrictions on hiring local staffers by the US and Czech diplomatic missions. “The Czech Republic would be allowed to hire no more than 19 Russian nationals to work for its embassy, and the United States, not a single one.”
Putin’s remarks amid a push for a possible summit between him and his American counterpart, Joe Biden, aimed at mending ties between the two Cold War-era foes.
The Russian foreign minister said on Thursday that Russia has “significant differences” with the United States on how it views world affairs but is ready to discuss contentious issues with Washington based on honesty and mutual respect.
Biden has said he would like to hold a summit with Putin during his trip to Europe in June, offering to meet in a third country to discuss rising tensions between Washington and Moscow.
Over the past six years, the US has imposed waves of sanctions against Russia, including over alleged meddling in its 2016 and 2020 presidential elections and the recent jailing of Western-backed blogger Alexei Navalny.
Relations between the two countries hit a new low in March after Biden said in an interview that he believed Putin was a “killer” and that the Russian president would have to “pay a price” for what he alleged was interference in the 2020 US presidential election. Moscow has denied such allegations.