Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russia will never pursue a path of self-isolation and says western sanctions offer a ''stimulus'' for the Russian economy. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday (December 4) the U.S. pursuit for antiballistic shield in Europe posed a threat to Russian and other countries. Speaking in an annual state of the union speech that seemed to outdo even his own recent strident nationalism, the 62-year old leader warned the path the U.S. had taken would prove harmful for the U.S. itself. "The continuing effort to create the global U.S. anti-missile defence system, including the one in Europe. This is not only a threat to the security of Russia but for the whole world too because it may break a strategic balance of power. I think it is also harmful for the U.S. itself," he said. The Kremlin leader vowed Russia would remain open for the world and for foreign investment, but even as he made that pledge Putin adopted an aggressive posture: "We will never pursue the path of self-isolation, xenophobia, suspicion and search for enemies. All this is a manifestation of weakness, while we are strong and self-confident." Putin said Russia would not cease cooperation with Europe and the U.S., adding it would also strengthen traditional ties with South America and Africa. The Russian leader is under pressure to show he has an answer for Russia's worsening economy, with sanctions and the falling price of energy exports sending the rouble into a tailspin, culminating in an acknowledgement this week by the government that the country is headed for recession. Putin said sanctions offered a stimulus for the Russian economy. "So-called sanctions and external restrictions are a stimulus for the more effective and speedy achievement of our goals. We have many things to do," he said.