Russian President Vladimir Putin warned during a live televised Q and A on Thursday that he would send troops to protect the people of eastern Ukraine and that Kiev gave him just the visuals he needed to revive his faltering narrative about civilians under threat.
Vladimir Putin could not have picked a better day than Thursday, April 17, to hold his annual call-in show on Russian television. Two days earlier, Ukraine’s government had sent its military to fight armed Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
A couple of days ago there was clear evidence that Russian troops are in Eastern Ukraine
[On live Russian Radio two days ago] Two Russian radio hosts were conducting live interviews with a female reporter in the occupied building of the Donetsk Oblast Administration. She mentions that the commander is standing next to her and may consent to an interview. He comes to the microphone and introduces himself as “Paramonov, Pavel Vladimorivich. When asked if he is from Donetsk, he answers: “Of course not, I am a resident of the city of Efremov of Tula oblast” (Tula is a Russian province). When asked what he is doing in Donetsk, he answers: “I am helping a brotherly nation to defend its rights.
You Tube shows a “Green Man” military officer in the Ukrainian town of Gorlovska. His uniform bears no insignias as he addresses about 20 local police, identified as having come over to the “side of the people.” Beside the officer stands a silent portly man in his 40s dressed in the black leather jacket attire of local mafia. The uniformed officer introduces himself as a “Podpolkovnik [lieutenant colonel] of the Russian Army.” He does not give his name. He then proceeds to appoint “black leather jacket” to lead the local ministry of interior, e.g. as the local chief of police. The lieutenant colonel then instructs the police officers to maintain order against those “who have not yet come over to the side of the people.” He instructs them to pin St. George ribbons on their uniforms to signify that they are fighting for the pro-Russian forces. One young policeman asks where the ribbons are. The Russian colonel answers dismissively that they are being “arranged.”