In a speech made to Russian lawmakers in St. Petersburg, Putin made this threat just as Russia claimed on Wednesday, April 27, to have carried out a missile strike in southern Ukraine that targeted a "large batch" of weapons supplied to the country by Western nations. (Related: America is funding, arming and training Ukraine's neo-Nazi Azov Battalion.)
"If anyone sets out to intervene in the ongoing events from the outside and create unacceptable strategic threats for Russia that are unacceptable to us, they should know that our retaliatory strikes will be lightning-fast," said Putin. "We have all the tools for this, that no one else can boast of having now. We will use them if necessary. And I want everyone to know that. We have decided on this matter."
Putin's veiled threat of using tools that "no one else can boast of having now" is accepted to be implicitly referring to Russia's arsenal of conventional ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads.
The Russian leader was not specific about what weapons he would be willing to use, but it should be noted that he recently oversaw the successful test of the RS-28 Sarmat, a super heavy intercontinental ballistic missile that is capable of carrying up to 10 nuclear warheads. Russia is expected to deploy this weapon soon.
Putin promised to finish the Russian invasion of Ukraine by seizing the territories claimed by the pro-Russian separatist republics of Donetsk and Luhansk and by assuring the security of Russian-occupied Crimea and Russia proper.
He also reiterated his claim that the war currently underway in Ukraine was instigated by the U.S., the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and their allies in the Western world.
"The countries that have historically tried to contain Russia don't need a self-sufficient, massive country such as ours," said Putin. "They think it is dangerous to them just by means of its existence. But that is far from the truth. They are the ones threatening the whole world."
Putin continued by claiming that the invasion of Ukraine has already achieved some of its objectives. The Russian armed forces were already able to neutralize "a real danger of … a major conflict that would have unfolded on our territory according to other people's scripts," he said.
He explained that NATO was planning to use Ukraine as a route to invade Russia through the separatist-held Donbas region in eastern Ukraine and the Crimean peninsula, which is internationally recognized as a part of Ukraine but Russia has occupied since 2014.
"All the tasks regarding the special military operation we are conducting in the Donbas and in Ukraine, launched on Feb. 24, will undoubtedly be fulfilled in order to guarantee, from a historical perspective, the security of residents in the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, Russian Crimea and our entire country," said Putin.
The Russian leader added that Western attempts to "economically strangle Russia" through extreme sanctions have failed. He called these attempts to sanction Russian goods "rude" and "clumsy" and promised that the Russian economy would move its attention to friendly nations and investors who are willing to work with the country.
"As I have already said, we will respond to rude, often clumsy, external restrictions, to the destruction of all civilized rights and agreements, to attempts to isolate us, with greater freedom of enterprise, openness to honest partnership, respect and reliable protection of owners and conscientious investors," he said.
Learn more about the ongoing war in Ukraine at WWIII.news.
Watch Putin's entire speech in front of lawmakers in St. Petersburg warning of a "lightning-fast" retaliation if the West interferes in the war.