Putin Speaks

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In his first public comments in weeks, Russian President Vladimir Putin made his case for the invasion of Ukraine, which–according to him–is not happening. (The Russian military is just hanging out at the border to enjoy the weather.)

After a five-hour meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Putin said in a press conference that if they WERE to invade it might be because everyone is ignoring Russia’s big issues, including “adequate consideration of our three key demands regarding NATO expansion, the renunciation of the deployment of strike weapons systems near Russian borders, and the return of the [NATO] bloc’s military infrastructure in Europe to the state of 1997, when the Russia-NATO founding act was signed.”

Putin doesn’t want NATO to expand into the east/Ukraine. He also doesn’t want Ukraine to retake Crimea. “This [Crimea] is sovereign Russian territory, the question is closed for us,” he said. “Let’s imagine that Ukraine is a NATO country and starts these military operations. Then what, we should fight against the NATO bloc? So, has anyone thought about this? Looks like no.”

Diplomats from many countries are attempting to stop this train. Embattled British Prime Minister Boris Johnson traveled to Kyiv Tuesday to offer support to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy ahead of the possible/probable Russian invasion. On the other side, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke again with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to once again stress de-escalation. Say it enough times and it’s true, right?

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