Putin Shrugs, Pulls Russian Troops From Ukraine Border, Doesn't Get What The Big Deal Was
Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn't get what the big deal was about. On Wednesday, he announced he'd withdrawn 40,000 Russian troops from the Ukrainian border — a major international sticking point in the crisis unfolding in eastern Ukraine. Putin also asked separatists aligned with the Russian government to hold off on a referendum originally planned for May 11. In classic Putin style, he pretended that he had nothing to do with the violence and government takeovers in eastern Ukraine, which is widely suspected of being stoked and assisted by Russian agents.
Here's what he said at the beginning of a meeting with Swiss president Didier Burkhalter, the head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe:
Let’s try to analyze the situation and look for ways out of this crisis.
Calm down, you guys. Let's all sit down and just figure this one out. Total misunderstanding!
We were told constantly about concerns over our troops near the Ukrainian border. We have pulled them back. Today they are not at the Ukrainian border but in places of regular exercises, at training grounds.
For those of you keeping track at home, President Barack Obama (along with other world leaders) have been repeatedly asking Putin to withdraw the troops on the border since March. To be fair, though, Putin's been busy, you know, banning swear words and stuff.
Putin also asked the separatists controlling at least 12 cities in eastern Ukraine to hold off on a referendum planned for May 11. On Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry called the referendum "contrived and bogus."
We call on the representatives of southeastern Ukraine, the supporters of the federalization of the country, to postpone the referendum planned for May 11.
Weird that Putin has said the Russian government has nothing to do with the violence in Ukraine, but now believes he has the power to stop the separatists with a simple statement. So odd!