Putin stresses importance of Russia's national security in inaugural speech

Russian President Vladimir Putin has stressed in his inaugural speech for a new six-year term that he will put the interests and safety of the Russian people before anything else.

Putin was sworn in for his fifth term as president on Tuesday. During the inauguration ceremony at the Kremlin, Putin took the oath of office with one hand on the Constitution.

In his speech, he thanked military personnel engaged in Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

As Moscow's rift with Western nations deepens over the invasion, Putin stressed that national security and stability will be his top priority.

He said that Russia is ready to engage in a dialogue with Western nations on security and strategic stability, but that the parties should be equal and have respect for each other's interests.

Putin questioned whether Western countries will continue trying to restrain the development of Russia, continue a policy of aggression and pressure on Russia, or look for a path toward cooperation and peace.

He said, "We are a united and great people, and together, we will overcome all obstacles, realize all our plans, together we will win."

Putin is 71 years old. He has held power as president or prime minister for more than 20 years, since assuming the presidency for the first time in 2000.

Before the ceremony started, Russia's state-run TV station broadcast live footage of Putin walking out of his office, getting into a car and being driven to the ceremony hall.

Observers say the dramatic footage may have been broadcast to impress the pubic and show him appearing to be powerful.