Amid growing tensions with the West and NATO, Russian President Vladimir Putin said to Geography students that the borders of Russia "do not end anywhere." According to the British newspaper Daily Mail, Putin made this remark during an awards ceremony held by the Russian Geographical Society and broadcast on Russian TV channels.
On the ceremony stage the Russian president spoke to Miroslav Askirko, a 9 years old prodigy kid who told him he knows the borders and capitals of all countries of the world. When Putin asked him where the borders of Russia end, the child replied that "Russia's border with the United States ends at the Bering Strait," The president then grabbed him by the shoulder and corrected him "Russia's borders do not end anywhere," before adding that "This is a joke."
The audience laughed at Putin's comments including Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who heads the Russian Geographic Society. The media quickly picked up on Putin's comments: Interfax news agency posted on Twitter: "Update from Putin: Russia's borders do not end anywhere."
It is noteworthy that Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014, sending thousands of special forces to control Ukrainian military bases and stage an expeditious referendum that was rejected by the international community. Three months later, Putin commented: "I would like to clarify for all: our country will continue to tirelessly defend Russian interests, and our citizens abroad using all necessary means, ranging from political and economic ways to military operations, under international law and the right of self defense".
Over the past year, the Republic of Georgia accused Russia of "creeping annexation" of its territory after the Russian border guards moved the boundary markers further into the Georgian territory.