Putin: Yeah, we had soldiers in Crimea before the plebiscite

posted at 8:01 am on April 17, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Call this the end of the worst-kept secret of the year. When men in Russian camouflage outfits minus insignias fanned out over the Crimean peninsula a few weeks ago, Vladimir Putin insisted that these were just local, patriotic Crimean citizens reacting to an illegal power grab in Kyiv. They weren’t Russian soldiers, Putin insisted. No, no, no.

Well … yes. But those “pro-Russian separatists” seizing government buildings in eastern Ukraine? Totally not Russian operatives. No, no, no:

President Vladimir Putin, who repeatedly denied Russian troops had entered Crimea before the March referendum there, changed his version of those events Thursday, telling the nation that they had indeed been there all along.

But the green-uniformed men observed in eastern Ukraine right now, storming buildings and raising the Russian flag, are not Russian, he said. “Those are local residents,” he said.

Of course they are! Why should we suspect anything different? Just because they’re using the same strategy, the same techniques, and making the same demands for plebescites as Putin’s sort-covert operatives did in Crimea, we shouldn’t draw any conclusions except that Putin’s telling us the truth. Now, anyway. Right?

The admission took place during a call-in television show. As if to make the farce complete, guess who chatted with Vlad?

Appearing on a televised call-in program, Putin even took a video question from Edward Snowden, the American former intelligence contractor who revealed large-scale U.S. surveillance programs and has taken refuge in Russia. Putin greeted him as a fellow spy, saying, “We can talk one professional language.”

Snowden asked if Russia spied on its citizens the way the United States did. Oh no, Putin said, Russian eavesdropping is strictly controlled by the law. “You have to get court permission to stalk a particular person,” Putin said. “We don’t have a mass system of such interception.”

And if you believe that, we have some great Crimean swampland for sale, too.

Moving from farce to tragedy, Putin’s calculated unrest in eastern Ukraine cost lives today in Mariupol:

Ukrainian forces engaged pro-Russian separatists Thursday in what appeared to be the most intense battle yet in the restive east, killing three militants and wounding 13 after what the Interior Ministry described as a siege on a military base in the southeastern city of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov.

“A mob of 300 militants, wielding guns, Molotov cocktails and homemade explosives, attacked the Ukrainian military outpost in the city overnight,” Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said in a statement. The attack, he said, was repelled by National Guard and police in the city, he said.

After a “short battle,” Ukrainian commandos and counterintelligence units fanned out into the city by ground and helicopter in an operation to round up militants. He said that 63 separatists had been detained in what remained an ongoing operation. Avakov reported no causalities among Ukrainian forces.

“Weapons, communication equipment and mobile phones were confiscated,” he said. “The identities of the detained persons are being established.”

Ukraine’s interim government plans to offer more autonomy to the eastern provinces if Russia pulls its troops from the border and if separatists disband. Putin would love to get that kind of a peaceful solution to the crisis that leaves the rest of Ukraine intact and Kyiv as the head of an independent federal government. No, really. Just ask him.


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Putin: Yeah, we had soldiers in Crimea before the plebiscite

steebo77 on April 17, 2014 at 8:05 AM

steebo77 on April 17, 2014 at 8:05 AM

Fixed, and thanks!

Ed Morrissey on April 17, 2014 at 8:07 AM

we shouldn’t draw any conclusions except that Putin’s telling us the truth. Now, anyway. Right?

Da!

Just because the locals are running around in Russian uniforms, raising Russian flags, driving Russian tanks….. Well that’s just the Ukranian boy scouts holding a Jamboree.

Happy Nomad on April 17, 2014 at 8:08 AM

Putin: Yeah, we had soldiers in Crimea, Ukraine, Estonia, Finland, Poland, Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and northern California before the plebiscite we completed the “legal” process of absorbing the territory.

ReWrite™ engaged for the reconstitution of the full reconstitution of the Russian Empire.

Steve Eggleston on April 17, 2014 at 8:09 AM

We are screwed. We have the KGB star student vs the Affirmative Action stoner. Lord help us.

Oil Can on April 17, 2014 at 8:13 AM

Of some note:

Putin lies.

Obama lies.

Truth is life, truth is freedom.

Seek truth.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on April 17, 2014 at 8:14 AM

It may seem like farce to a sentient being, but Putin’s no dummy. He knows that telling a truth (after the lie has served its purpose) will cause many people to believe his lie. “See? Putin’s an honest guy!”

Fenris on April 17, 2014 at 8:14 AM

Isn’t he admitting to putting his own troops in harms WITHOUT any Geneva convention protection?

What a jerk.

BigGator5 on April 17, 2014 at 8:17 AM

Isn’t he admitting to putting his own troops in harms WITHOUT any Geneva convention protection?

What a jerk.

BigGator5 on April 17, 2014 at 8:17 AM

Given his troops are better-armed and more ruthless than the opposition, and Putin’s piecemeal reassembly of the Russian Empire is contrary to international law, I don’t think he much cares.

Steve Eggleston on April 17, 2014 at 8:20 AM

Just heard on the radio that Ukrainian soldiers killed 3 of these pro-Russian protestors at a military base. Russian tanks rolling across the border later today to “protect” ethnic Russians?

NotCoach on April 17, 2014 at 8:20 AM

Isn’t he admitting to putting his own troops in harms WITHOUT any Geneva convention protection?

What a jerk.

BigGator5 on April 17, 2014 at 8:17 AM

And if there had been atrocities committed by Ukrainians upon ethnic Russians not in uniform? More propaganda fodder! ‘Jerk’ isn’t the word I’d use.

Fenris on April 17, 2014 at 8:21 AM

We are screwed. We have the KGB star student vs the Affirmative Action stoner. Lord help us.

Oil Can on April 17, 2014 at 8:13 AM

And the difference is becoming all the more apparent every day. Obama is a pathetic little man. A bitter lazy stupid product of what happens when you reward people for the color of their skin instead of the content of their character.

Nothing brought that home this week more than the “decimated” Al Qaeda leadership holding a convention in Yemen and putting it on YouTube. With the US and all its vaunted intelligence capability either didn’t know about it or didn’t do anything about it. And the administration yesterday taking the position of “Who you going to believe Obama or your lying eyes?”

Ukraine will become part of Russia again, with Kerry and the filthy rat-eared wonder denying that it is happening all the while. Even as Kyiv becomes Kiev again, Jay Carney will be hailing the supersmart diplomacy

Happy Nomad on April 17, 2014 at 8:23 AM

‘Jerk’ isn’t the word I’d use.

Fenris on April 17, 2014 at 8:21 AM

I’d use stronger words, but this is a family-friendly site.

BigGator5 on April 17, 2014 at 8:25 AM

I’d use stronger words, but this is a family-friendly site.

BigGator5 on April 17, 2014 at 8:25 AM

Ya, good writers manage to express the seriousness of their contempt without resorting to the easy expletive or sexual imagery. That’s why we’re commenters here and not AllahPundit. Which is also why I imagine Barack swears at Michelle every night about flyover country, and is tempted to when speaking with Putin on the phone about Ukraine. He probably takes his frustration out on his aides afterwards.

Fenris on April 17, 2014 at 8:33 AM

Ukraine will become part of Russia again, with Kerry and the filthy rat-eared wonder denying that it is happening all the while. Even as Kyiv becomes Kiev again, Jay Carney will be hailing the supersmart diplomacy

Happy Nomad on April 17, 2014 at 8:23 AM

No, it will become Putingrad.

Steve Eggleston on April 17, 2014 at 8:33 AM

Snowden asked if Russia spied on its citizens the way the United States did. Oh no, Putin said, Russian eavesdropping is strictly controlled by the law. “You have to get court permission to stalk a particular person,” Putin said. “We don’t have a mass system of such interception.”

Thanks for the laugh of the year.

It’s one thing to expose the US government spying on American citizens, but to be now actively sucking up to our enemy — and Putin in our enemy — is treason.

rbj on April 17, 2014 at 8:34 AM

No, it will become Putingrad.

Steve Eggleston on April 17, 2014 at 8:33 AM

You really want to send a message to the Ukrainians and make them pee themselves? Rename it Stalingrad.

NotCoach on April 17, 2014 at 8:36 AM

There is something missing from this idea that all the unrest in the Crimea and Eastern Ukraine is merely the work of a few Russian soldiers without insignia on their uniform: You’d expect to seem some opposition, counter protests, to having your buildings seized and your home annexed or split off from the Ukraine.

No doubt Russia sent a few agitators in there to stir the people up, get the ball rolling, so to speak, but that doesn’t even seem very relevant to the current situation. Russia is always gonna be at that border.

One thing that this situation makes clear is that a nation needs one official language and should not tolerate the language of an adjacent nation being spoken in the regions nearby.

Buddahpundit on April 17, 2014 at 8:37 AM

You really want to send a message to the Ukrainians and make them pee themselves? Rename it Stalingrad.

NotCoach on April 17, 2014 at 8:36 AM

Then there will be two Stalingrads – Volgograd already mandates that, for 9 days each year, it be refered to as its Stalin-era name of Stalingrad.

Steve Eggleston on April 17, 2014 at 8:50 AM

One thing that this situation makes clear is that a nation needs one official language and should not tolerate the language of an adjacent nation being spoken in the regions nearby.

Eastern and Southern Ukraine were part of the Russian empire and all the major cities were established during the Russian empire. They became part of Ukraine after the Russian Revolution. Crimea became part of Ukraine 30 or so years later.

ninjapirate on April 17, 2014 at 8:58 AM

You really want to send a message to the Ukrainians and make them pee themselves? Rename it Stalingrad.

NotCoach on April 17, 2014 at 8:36 AM

Then there will be two Stalingrads – Volgograd already mandates that, for 9 days each year, it be refered to as its Stalin-era name of Stalingrad.

Steve Eggleston on April 17, 2014 at 8:50 AM

Oh c’mon, he’s not going to rename Kiev. The question is what’s he going to rename Helsinki, Warsaw and Tallinn (yes, I had to look that up).

Fenris on April 17, 2014 at 9:06 AM

The contest continues among O, Billary, Kerri and Pootin to see who can pack the most lies in a single paragraph.

vnvet on April 17, 2014 at 9:10 AM

The ravings of Yulia Tymoshenko, corrupt oligarch and former Prime Minister of Ukraine, shows that the junta will harm Russian-speaking Ukrainians about as much as it dares.

Under the circumstances, which include the overthrow of their elected government with EU and American support, the attitude of East Ukrainians is not hard to understand. Russian troops are not their biggest problem.

David Blue on April 17, 2014 at 9:33 AM

The admission took place during a call-in television show. As if to make the farce complete, guess who chatted with Vlad?

Ed, you SO have to include this link to the story via Breitbart on the Putin/Snowden mutual tongue-washing…

So after seeing that, I’m interested to find out if the “Libertarian” commandos still feel the “anti-government hero” interviewing essentially the former (and current) leader of a even LARGER domestic surveillance program?

BlaxPac on April 17, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Moving from farce to tragedy, Putin’s calculated unrest in eastern Ukraine cost lives today in Mariupol:

Still has a long way to go before it equals the death toll from the US/EU-encouraged unrest in Kiev.

Jon0815 on April 17, 2014 at 10:35 AM

Wow, who let the Russian Propaganda team in?

As for those totally non russian militants, Russia can’t exactly complain if Ukraine slaughters a few thousand of them, can they? After all, Putin swears they aren’t Russian soldiers, so if a few dozen die, what’s he gonna do? Go on National TV and call for an invasion of Ukraine because they killed soldiers he just told the nation weren’t there?

Seriously, if Putin is going to pull the “They aren’t my troops!” bit, then a smart US leader would generously help Ukraine maintain peace with a few warthog passes that destroy those “insurgents.”

Vanceone on April 17, 2014 at 10:49 AM

There is something missing from this idea that all the unrest in the Crimea and Eastern Ukraine is merely the work of a few Russian soldiers without insignia on their uniform: You’d expect to seem some opposition, counter protests, to having your buildings seized and your home annexed or split off from the Ukraine.

No doubt Russia sent a few agitators in there to stir the people up, get the ball rolling, so to speak, but that doesn’t even seem very relevant to the current situation. Russia is always gonna be at that border.

One thing that this situation makes clear is that a nation needs one official language and should not tolerate the language of an adjacent nation being spoken in the regions nearby.

Buddahpundit on April 17, 2014 at 8:37 AM

Yes. When the Soviet Union fell apart, these ethnic Russians should have been given a choice of an oath of loyalty to the nation, or exile back to Russia. Provinces with overwhelming Russian ethnicity should have been ceded to Russia. The border of Ukraine should have been redrawn at that time. Call it ethnic cleansing if you wish, but it happened many times after the conclusion of major wars.

Once that was done, we should have given an ironclad guarantee of border integrity to the Eastern European nations in exchange for the decimation of their armed forces and weaponry.

slickwillie2001 on April 17, 2014 at 1:18 PM

“There are three ways to influence people: blackmail, vodka, and the threat to kill.” — Vladimir Putin

Dave Turson on April 17, 2014 at 2:08 PM