Russia must prepare for possible Western attempts to deny it access to the global internet by creating its own self-sufficient 'segments' of the web, President Vladimir Putin was quoted as saying on Wednesday by Russian news agencies.
"I think, they [foreign countries] will think through carefully before doing it, but there is a theoretical possibility [of Russia being cut off from the internet], and that's why we should create segments that don't depend on anyone," the Tass news agency quoted Putin as saying.
"I can't speak for our partners, what they have up their sleeves, but I think it will do colossal damage to them," he said, without elaborating.
Putin's comments came days after Russian lawmakers backed tighter internet controls to defend against foreign meddling. Critics say the draft legislation could disrupt the internet in Russia and be used to stifle dissent.
The bill seeks to route Russian web traffic and data through points controlled by state authorities and proposes building a national Domain Name System to allow the internet to continue functioning even if Russia is cut off from foreign online infrastructure.