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Vladimir Putin: 'We need friends'

Vladimir Putin: 'We need friends'

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures as he gives his annual state of the nation address in Moscow on Thursday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has shared in a state address on Thursday that he hopes to mend the rift with the USA and wants to work with President-elect Donald Trump to pool efforts to fight global terrorism. The Kremlin is ready to cooperate with the upcoming USA presidential administration on an equal footing, as the two countries share the common responsibility for security and stability in the world.

The president also emphasized the need "to strengthen non-proliferation regimes", noting that "attempts to upset the strategic balance are extremely unsafe and could lead to a global catastrophe".

Putin added that Moscow hopes to pool efforts with Washington in confronting worldwide terrorism.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during his annual state of the nation address at the Kremlin in Moscow, Dec. 1, 2016.

Putin also addressed Russia's Olympic doping scandal, wherein some Russian athletes were banned from competition in Rio earlier this year after a state-sponsored doping ring was uncovered by a World Anti-Doping Agency inquiry.

"Justice, fairness and respect in worldwide affairs - this is what the trend should be in the 21st century, but sadly these developments in global relationships after the Cold War were wasted", he said. "We need friends", Putin said in a likely reaction to criticisms of Moscow's involvement in Syria and Ukraine.

That was a reference to Syria where Moscow is backing President Bashar al-Assad, while, like Turkey, the outgoing U.S. administration has supported anti-Assad rebels. "We welcome the commitment of the country's leaders to promote economic ties with Russian Federation by launching joint projects", he said, without touching on their territorial dispute.

Opposition parties have been pushed to the sidelines in Russia, and October parliamentary elections returned a supermajority for Putin's United Russia party.

The statement comes almost eight years after the start of a failed attempt by the Obama administration to improve relations with Russian Federation.

Mr Putin's tone may have been softer than usual, but he still made it clear that Russian Federation would continue to stand up for its own interests. He also spoke about Russia's relations with China.

The Russian leader said the Kremlin was ready to work with a new administration, but offered few new specifics on the way forward. In his speech to the nation, Putin said that his country favors security in the world, but not only for the elite but for all nations. According to that report, Putin cited a telephone conversation he had had earlier with American President-elect Donald Trump.