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Vitaliy Portnikov: A holiday amongst bandits

Vitaliy Portnikov: A holiday amongst bandits

Putin’s willingness to commit crime and fraud is evidence of his lack of a clear plan of action.

ladimir Putin is trying to find a justification for the invasion of his troops in Ukraine. His officials unanimously deny aggression, and the so-called “premier of the DNR” [Donetsk People’s Republic] Alexander Zakharchenko, who was wheeled out in front of the screen of the propaganda TV channel “Russia 24” especially for this, tells his viewers about “Russian volunteers.” But these are no longer just some sort of former military types. Zakharchenko specifically voiced the intention of Kremlin spin doctors, according to whom, on the bandits’ side fight “active military personnel who decided to spend their holidays, not on a beach, but among us.”

This is the tale that Putin and company will now tell Russians and the world community. Marines? Documents of military units? Passports for military equipment? All of this, instead of the beach. After all, the Russian president simply cannot stop people who are on holiday from going to a war zone! And that which they are saying to television cameras about their stay in Ukraine – that is all lies, which were the result of torture and subtle bullying. One needs to believe Zakharchenko. And Putin.

But it becomes very hard to believe Putin if only because he forbade his security personnel to go abroad. And those Russian soldiers who “instead of the beach” ended up in Novoazovsk or in other Ukrainian cities, are committing a crime for which they should in theory be answering to, according to Russian law. In theory because, in fact, from the point of view of Russian law, they are carrying out the orders of their Supreme Commander. The criminal is Putin himself. It is he who uses troops on the territory of another state without the permission of the Federation Council, and that is a direct violation by the President of the Russian Constitution.

And here is the most interesting thing – why has Putin decided to carry out a crime and now has to explain himself with the help of some Zakharchenko? After all, there were no problems with getting permission from the puppets at the High Chamber of the Russian Parliament – moreover he already had such permission in his pocket after the beginning of his Crimean adventure.

The answer to this question is exactly what is needed to verify that the Russian president has no clear plan of aggression against Ukraine. Putin was so certain that there was no potential for resistance on the part of Ukraine, and he so expected to create a “Ukrainian Transnistria” in Donbas using mercenaries and saboteurs, that he decided to demonstrate to the world his peacekeeping intentions – and also to prevent further hardships from befalling sanction-hit oligarchs. But now, when the territory held by bandits is shrinking, to maintain the source of tension he needs the army – and he threw it into the mix without hesitation, on the day of talks with the Ukrainian president in Minsk. He threw it in without even stopping to consider that he is turning into a state criminal. For Putin now the main thing is to retain the hotbed of tension in Ukraine, and not to think about the consequences. And this willingness of the Russian president to go ahead with crime and fraud not only demonstrates his lack of a clear plan of action. It demonstrates proof of his inevitable defeat.

By Vitaliy Portnikov


Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

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