Writing at The New Republic, Ukranian Irina Kalinina reports the latest joke in Odessa:
“I stopped speaking Russian.”
“Why? Afraid that Ukrainians will beat you?”
“No, that Russians will come to protect me.”
Kalinina also notes that Sergei Kokurin, an ethnic Russian serving in the Ukranian army, was the first soldier killed in the Russian invasion of Crimea.
And if you thought your opinion of Vladimir Putin couldn’t get any lower:
On March 4th, he articulated a doctrine of hiding Russian forces, future invaders of more of Ukraine, behind women and children: “Listen carefully. I want you to understand me clearly: if we make that decision it will only be to protect Ukrainian citizens. And let’s see those troops try to shoot their own people, with us behind them – not in the front, but behind. Let them just try to shoot at women and children! I would like to see those who would give that order in Ukraine.”
It was that particular passage of Putin’s speech that made people in Ukraine nervous. No one in Ukraine doubted that those words would transform into actions. On March 20th, two days after the killing of Sergei Kokurin, heavily armed Russian forces took over another Ukrainian military base in Crimea, in the Yevpatoria region. This time, however, Russians did not use their weapons. But rumors circulated that they surrounded the kindergarten attended by the children of the Ukrainian soldiers and threatened to storm it if the Ukrainian soldiers did not abandon their posts. As soldiers, these men had told the Russians that they would not surrender. But as fathers they did.
Update: One Republican congressman can barely bring himself to say an unkind word about Putin or the Russian invasion of Crimea.