Katie Stallard, Moscow Correspondent with Sky News, reports that Valadimir Putin, current totalitarian ruler of Russia, has acknowledged on national television that Russian troops invaded the sovereign nation of Ukraine in Crimea after all. Yes he said he did and with an attitude of “so what?”
World leaders might want to bear this in mind in future dealings with Putin. Stallard writes, “Remember when we first saw those mysterious little green men appearing in Crimea last year – you know, the ones who looked and acted exactly like exactly like Russian paratroopers, only minus their insignia? At the time Mr Putin flatly denied they were his troops, that he was in the process of annexing part of another European country.
He said all their equipment could easily be bought in a military surplus shop.
So brazen was the denial that officers of the Ukrainian surface fleet actually wrote to the Russian president to ask him where this military shop might be, where one could purchase automatic weapons and grenade launchers?
One month after Russia’s formal annexation of the peninsula, Mr Putin admitted he had “of course” deployed troops to Crimea.
Now he has been filmed saying he gave the order to begin planning the operation to annex Crimea several weeks before the people who live there were given the chance to vote on it, albeit in a referendum marshaled by men with Kalashnikovs.
Clearly this raises some questions about the credibility of Mr Putin’s other denials – are Russian troops for instance not in Ukraine, in the same way they were “not in Crimea”, until it was OK to admit that they were?
But perhaps he doesn’t care.
Annexing Crimea was genuinely popular in Russia, and Vladimir Putin’s approval rating here, despite the ruble crash and economic crisis, remains at 86%, close to an all-time high.