More broadly, Western audiences will note that despite Putin’s public support for a peaceful settlement in the Donbass, Russian propaganda continues to keep up its high-pitched anti-Western, anti-Ukrainian rhetoric. This continues to repeat the accusation that Western countries orchestrated the revolution in Ukraine in 2014 with the express intent of inflicting damage on Russia.
Together with Putin’s statements in the film, the recent start of military exercises involving elements of Russia’s northern, Baltic and Black Sea fleets sends a clear signal to the Russian audience, as well as to NATO countries and Kiev, that Moscow is not preparing to back down over Ukraine.
This, of course, runs counter to Russia’s efforts to conduct a charm offensive toward some southern European countries using economic blandishments. These efforts aim to split the EU, and to undermine the West’s collective will to maintain sanctions against Russia and provide political and financial support to Ukraine.