The News Minute | December 19, 2014 | 7:35 am IST
President Vladimir Putin reiterated on Thursday that Russia will not bow to external political pressure and will stay firm to protect the national interests.
"The Berlin wall never really came down," Xinhua quoted Putin as saying at his 10th annual year-end press conference, adding the West has been erecting new barriers in the way of equitable ties with Russia.
"They think they have won, they consider themselves to be an empire and that others are vassals who must be oppressed," said the president.
Russia's tough stance even in crisis should let the foreign partners realise "the best way is to stop building the walls but to build a common security space instead".
He noted that international relations are threatened by many already existed or newly emerged dividing lines, while slamming the US and the NATO for their military presence approaching to Russian borders.
Russia wants equal relations with the rest of the world and always believes in the World Trade Organization rules, Putin said.
"But we have been sanctioned unilaterally and illegitimately," he added.
Comparing Russia to a bear, Putin said the country should not lower its guard, or it will lose its teeth and claws and become a hunter's trophy.
"Once the teeth and claws are ripped out, the bear will lose its significance and become nothing but a stuffed animal," he remarked.
"This is about the protection of our independence, our sovereignty and our right to exist," Putin said, adding that Russia is not attacking the West politically but protecting its own national interests at an increasingly robust pace.