President Vladimir Putin has declared that Russia has a morally superior worldview to that of the West.

Putin, a former KGB agent, defended Moscow's conservative ideals and said that Russia was trying to resist a wave of "non-traditional values".

With Russia's anti-gay stance under the spotlight in the run-up to the Sochi Winter Olympics, Putin scolded the West for treating "good and evil" equally.

Putin's 70-minute speech was big on Russian family values, which he lauded as a safeguard against "so-called tolerance - genderless and infertile".

In a thinly veiled swipe at the US in his state of the nation address, he declared that Russia was not attempting to be a superpower nor "teach anyone how to live".

He spoke about Russia's relationship with Ukraine after protests against the president, Victor Yanukovich, escalated in Kiev. The protests grew in response to Yanukovich's decision to plump for closer ties with Moscow and reject a trade agreement with the European Union.

"I hope that all political sides can successfully reach an agreement in the interests of the Ukrainian people," Putin said.

And he warned: "Nobody should have any illusion about the possibility of gaining military superiority over Russia.

"We will never allow this to happen. Russia will respond to all these challenges, political and military."