In comments today on Russian television, President Vladimir Putin reiterated Russia’s upper house of parliament has given him the authorization to use military force in Ukraine, and that he intends to “do everything possible” to protect the protesters in the country’s east.
At the same time, Putin insisted that he hoped political and diplomatic efforts would be sufficient to deescalate the crisis, and that he wants to avoid military action in the area.
That the exact opposite of the Western narrative, which claims Putin is looking for a pretext to invade. If he was, he’s certainly gotten it in the past couple of days, as Ukraine’s military has invaded protester cities and killed protesters in what is being laughably called an “anti-terrorist” operation.
Multiple predictions of an imminent Russian invasion have not panned out, and the reality of the situation seems to be much closer to Putin’s own comments, and Russia seems to be dangling the threat of military action they don’t really want to launch in hopes of letting the protesters continue on without overt Russian involvement.
It’s not hard to understand why, either, as the annexation of dirt-poor Crimea already looks to be a very expensive proposition, and military involvement in Donetsk could well lead to another round of accessions into the Russian Federation, meaning more failing industrial cities to bail out.