Anyone who crosses Russian Federation 'will come to 'regret' it, Putin warns

Law enforcement officers stand in front of participants during a rally in support of jailed Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny in Saint Petersburg Russia

His team called the nationwide protests for the same day that Putin gave his annual state-of-the-nation address.

As Navalny's supporters have been calling on Russians to participate in unauthorized rallies on April 21, the Russian authorities keep calling to abstain from participation, as they have pledged to suppress any aggression and provocations.

Putin unsurprisingly made no mention of Navalny in his speech - he has always refused to use his critic's name - or of any other opposition to his leadership.

The tough talk comes one week after the United States issued new economic and diplomatic sanctions against Russian Federation for its efforts to interfere in the US elections and its cyberattacks on USA companies and institutions.

"But I have to say we were able to regroup and organize our work despite the pressure before".

"But if someone mistakes our good intentions for indifference or weakness and intends to burn down or even blow up these bridges, they should know that Russia's response will be asymmetrical, swift and harsh".

"But I hope that no one will think of crossing the so-called red line in relation to Russian Federation. And where this line will be, in every particular case, we will determine it ourselves".

Defying warnings and a huge police presence, the protesters in Moscow marched through the city centre near the Kremlin chanting "Freedom" and "Putin is a thief!".

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky invited Russian leader Vladimir Putin to meet in war-torn eastern Ukraine on Tuesday, stressing that millions of lives were at stake from fresh fighting in the separatist conflict.

Suspect on the run in fatal shooting of 3 in Texas
A sheriff's detective by the name Stephen Broderick , then 40, was arrested a year ago for allegedly sexually assaulting a child. No other casualties "have been reported or located at this time", Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services also wrote .

He began his state-of-the-nation speech by hailing the nation's response to the coronavirus pandemic, saying the quick development of three coronavirus vaccines underlined Russia's technological and industrial potential.

While saying he did not want to "burn bridges" in the global community, Putin did say he would defend his country's interests.

Much of Putin's address was devoted to a slew of announcements of new social spending and aid to families, as the longtime leader looks to shore up support for his deeply unpopular United Russia party ahead of parliamentary elections in September.

"The main thing is to ensure the growth of citizens' real incomes", he said, adding that increases in consumer prices were "eating away" at Russians' incomes.

Navalny's supporters were hoping to steal Putin's thunder on Wednesday with a series of mass protests starting in the evening in cities across the country. He said that the latest Avangard intercontinental-range missile systems and Peresvet laser combat systems were already on alert, and the first regiment, fully equipped with Sarmat heavy intercontinental ballistic missiles, would enter combat duty according to plan at the end of 2022.

In Moscow, where Navalny's allies want to protest on a square by the Kremlin where Putin is set to address the two chambers of parliament earlier on Wednesday, the mayor's office said the protest would not be authorized because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said she was also detained at the entrance to the building, while independent monitor OVD-Info said police had conducted searches and detained at least 53 people in 27 cities.

Navalny was arrested in January upon his return from Germany, where he had spent five months convalescing from a nerve agent poisoning he blames on the Kremlin - an accusation Russian officials have rejected.

He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years on old fraud charges his supporters say were politically motivated and has been serving time in a penal colony about 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of Moscow.

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