Putin Really Hopes You'll Blame Ukraine for His Aggression

On Monday, I noted that much of the reporting on the weekend incident in the Black Sea, during which Russia seized three Ukrainian naval vessels and their crews, was replicating Russia's narrative, both suggesting that Ukraine somehow provoked Russia and that Russia was merely defending itself, and ignoring that this is part of an ongoing campaign of Russian aggression toward Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin is counting on that twisted version of events being the dominant narrative, and he's doubling down, further accusing Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko of having orchestrated the entire thing to boost his reelection chances.

Polina Nikolskaya and Darya Korsunskaya at Reuters report:
"It was without doubt a provocation," Putin told a financial forum in Moscow.

"It was organised by the president ahead of the elections. The president is in fifth place ratings-wise and therefore had to do something. It was used as a pretext to introduce martial law."

Ukraine was successfully using the episode to sell anti-Russian sentiment and the West was ready to forgive Ukrainian politicians their shortcomings because it bought into the narrative Kiev was promoting, said Putin.
Such projection. Kiev isn't the one promoting a dishonest narrative. Lest there be any doubt about who the real aggressor is, Putin's first public comments came only after "Moscow said it would send more of its advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile systems to Crimea, the Ukrainian region it annexed in 2014."

Meanwhile: A Reuters reporter "saw a Russian warship deploying nearby as tensions with Ukraine rose."

It was also reported yesterday "that there was an increase in helicopters and troops along the Ukrainian border."

Putin wants very much for Ukraine to be seen as the aggressor, or at least an equal partner (both sides!), but that is simply not the reality. And the international community must reject his framing and reject Russian aggression toward Ukraine, unyieldingly.

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