POLITICS

Comrade Putin explains it all

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Politics,Chris Stirewalt,Power Play

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COMRADE PUTIN EXPLAINS IT ALL
Russian ruler Vladimir Putin told reporters today that using military force in Ukraine “would naturally be the last resort.” But he might just do it anyway. Putin waved away the urgent rhetoric from Washington about a Russian invasion of the Crimean Peninsula, saying that he had already ordered troops near the region back to their bases. The masked, armed men who look so much like Russian special forces patrolling the streets in Crimea, Putin explained, are just local fighters who have taken to the streets to defend the Russian majority population. But the real troops might show up again, Putin said. Why? Because he wants to protect democracy. From Reuters: “‘There can be only one assessment of what happened in Kiev, in Ukraine in general. This was an anti-constitutional coup and the armed seizure of power,’  said Putin, looking relaxed as he sat before a small group of reporters at his residence near Moscow. ‘As for bringing in forces. For now there is no such need but such a possibility exists,’ he said. ‘What could serve as a reason to use military force? It would naturally be the last resort, absolutely the last.’”

Time is on his side - This doesn’t sound like a guy who is smarting from President Obama’s ruling Monday that Russia was “on the wrong side of history.” Obama, talking to reporters with visiting Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, whittled down some of his tougher talk from Friday, saying that “over time” Russia’s incursion would be a “costly proposition.” The message Putin seems to have taken is that he has time to shore up Russian control of the region before the eventual resolution. Given the international community’s unwillingness to make stark determinations about such things as invasions, especially when they involve a permanent UN Security Council member that is the primary energy supplier to Western Europe, Time does seem to be on Putin’s side, whatever history eventually adjudges. Like this…

KERRY ARRIVES AMID SIGNS OF RUSSIAN TROOP BUILDUP
From Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen in Kiev : “Dispatching sizable troop reinforcements into Crimea on Monday, Russia consolidated its military control over the southeastern Ukrainian territory and may be preparing for a wider invasion of the country, senior U.S. officials traveling with Secretary of State John Kerry to Kiev, the restive Ukrainian capital, said early Tuesday. ‘We still have a very real concern that the Russians have other plans in the Ukraine,’ said one senior U.S. official, briefing reporters aboard Kerry’s official airplane en route from New York to Kiev. ‘They may be planning other moves.” More

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