Russian President Vladimir Putin was seen exploding at an official for suggesting the Russia was not the best country in the world.
Robert Urazov, head of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, faced the immediate wrath of Putin in an online government meeting.
‘I paid attention to you saying ‘in other countries, the best in the world…’,’ said a grim-faced Putin.
‘Now then: the best country in the world is Russia. I hope you simply made a mistake…?’
Putin’s angry affirmation comes as Russia prepares a sudden modernisation drive for its tanks and munitions while Zelensky seeks Western fighters.
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The hapless 46-year-old underling gave a nervous smile, but Putin often remembers such slips by his officials who later find themselves demoted or dismissed.
If Urazov replied to him, this was cut off as the meeting went into secret mode.
Moscow, meanwhile, is rushing the building and modernising of ‘thousands of tanks’ in response to the West’s promise to arm Volodymyr Zelensky.
Close Putin henchman Dmitry Medvedev, a former Russian president and premier, was at Omsk Transport Engineering Plant in Siberia today to demand speedier supplies of munitions.
‘Yesterday [in London] our enemy begged for planes, missiles and tanks while abroad,’ said Medvedev, referring to Volodymyr Zelensky’s trip to London.
‘What must we do in response?
‘Naturally, to increase production of various types of ammunition and military equipment, including modern tanks.
‘We are speaking about the manufacturing and modernising of thousands of tanks.’
Putin is deploying Medvedev, now deputy head of the Kremlin security council, to boost production of tanks and missiles for the front.
It is unclear that he is having the success his boss wants but his photo opportunities at arms-making plants have become a regular event.
Meanwhile, pro-Putin Colonel Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of Russia’s National Defence magazine, demanded imminent military strikes against the US, Britain, Poland and the three ex-Soviet Baltic states as Ukraine’s biggest Western supporters.
‘What will we be destroying in Europe if a war suddenly breaks out?
‘What are the objects for the first strike – NATO’s military infrastructure targets?
‘I don’t know. Perhaps, critical infrastructure?
Or he suggested LNG terminals and pipelines.’
The hawkish colonel said: ‘If the enemy has been working to destroy Russia, then we should plan and implement a set of measures regarding strategic decisions now, regarding how we will destroy the enemy.
‘It is absolutely obvious that in case that we are dragged into a confrontational scenario, God forbid, with a nuclear stage…
‘I am absolutely convinced that the first, priority targets should be on US territory.
‘Americans should not think they will wait it out across the ocean during turmoil in Europe.
‘There are countries that manifested themselves as the main enemies of Russia.
‘Then the first [strikes] should be against them.
‘Which are these countries?
‘Great Britain, Poland, the Baltic states [Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania].’
He warned: ‘We should already be moving towards it somehow, to react.
‘I am saying this not in a state of militaristic ecstasy.
‘We should be acting to prevent the enemy who should be destroyed without any regrets, in a few moments, under clear solutions that should be approved by the military leadership.’