Vladimir Putin announced today that he is sending a so-called “peacekeeping” force into two breakaway areas of Eastern Ukraine where many Russians live, and which have been at war with Ukraine for some eight years now, with many fatalities inflicted.
Firmly believing (similarly to Donald Trump) that he can do whatever he wants, and suffer no consequences, today Putin issued an illegal order declaring that Luhansk and Donbas are independent nations, knowing full well that nobody but Russia will recognize them as such. It’s part of Putin’s rationale for invading Ukraine for the second time since 2014 when he grabbed Crimea. The Russians in Russia, who are firmly under his metaphorical boots, will follow his lead because they have no choice in the matter, and they don’t yet know much about the upcoming sanctions against Russian banks and Putin and his cronies.
Ethnic Russians are the largest minority in Donbas, which is rich in coal. In Luhansk, the population is about one half ethnic Russian and one half ethnic Ukrainian, and tensions there between the two groups have been extremely high since 2014 after the Maidan protests in Kyiv of 2013 and 2014, much of that concerned with Ukraine’s identity as pro-West or pro-Putin.
All this called for our two most experienced associate solitary reporters, namely, our Chief Moscow Correspondent, associate solitary reporter Foma Kheroshonsky, and our Chief International Correspondent, associate solitary reporter Larry Theis, to teleport themselves to Kyiv.
The two have been close personal friends for some fifty years, and they often visit each other. Theis has frequently visited Kheroshonsky in his tiny, self-enclosed apartment deep inside the Kremlin. Kheroshonsky’s apartment was installed by the CIA in the Kremlin’s dungeon at the outbreak of the Cold War, and Putin doesn’t even know about it.
With considerable trepidation, Theis and Kheroshonsky awaited the arrival on foot in Ukraine’s capital of Mr. Macho himself, Putin, who, only five minutes ago, marched barechested into Kyiv's Maidan Square with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Valery Gerasimov, the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, and announced that if he does not receive the Nobel Prize for Peace for sending peacekeeping forces into Donbas and Luhansk, he will invade Norway, where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded every year.
Kheroshonsky and Theis are both fluent in Russian and both are Americans, so we here at AP cannot vouch for their safety, as all Americans were supposed to have left Ukraine several days ago.