Putin: activity of 469 spies stopped in Russian Federation in 2017

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged the Federal Security Service (FSB) to step up its cybersecurity efforts and strengthen measures to protect secret and sensitive communications.

"This was a signal to the West, the United States in particular, that Russia is ready for nuclear isolationism", said Andrei Kortunov, head of the Russian International Affairs Council, a Kremlin-established research group.

Putin praised Russia's new hypersonic missiles and cutting-edge submarines during a state of the nation address that also touched on economic and social policy ahead of a presidential election this month he is widely expected to win.

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Sputnik: Despite the missile Putin showcased being within the provisions of the 1987 INF Treaty Washington has already accused Moscow of treaty violations, why is that?

"I know that they do not represent the Russian state, the Russian authorities", Putin said. The United States denies it has done so.

While Russia may have achieved a technological breakthrough, it's just as likely that "the Kremlin is counting on a miracle", said Alexander Golts, an independent defence analyst based in Moscow. In 2017 the export of Russian military hardware went up for a third year running to above $15 billion.

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"Everything he said, whether it was for real or not, has to be treated seriously by policymakers", he said.

This was certainly quite an impressive speech, and I think this is an annual speech where one gets to see what Russian Federation has been up to in terms of immediate developments, particularly in the defense sector; I think that's something that we have been watching out for, so that speech has been particularly impressive in terms of the new weapons systems that Putin talked about.

The Russian president also warned that his country's military buildup would be able to cancel out NATO's amassment of military force on Russia's borders, though he stressed that Russia did not intend to attack any other country.

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That will make the world "a more unsafe place", said Lisbeth Gronlund, senior scientist at the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Union of Concerned Scientists, which advocates for reducing the risk of using nuclear weapons.