Putin to Ukraine: You Don’t Exist Unless I Say So

Though it hardly seems the stuff to get under Vladimir Putin’s skin, a new law in Ukraine designed to protect minority rights riled up the Russian president enough to warn Ukraine its suggest sovereignty is subject to Russia’s veto.

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Russian troops training in Crimea: To defend or invade?

The Ukrainian law, which took effect last Friday, was designed to show that the central government is responsible for protecting the legal and cultural rights of Tatars, Karaites and Krymchaks, three minorities that also happen to reside in Crimea. Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014. In Putin’s eyes, that makes them Russian citizens.

After its approval by the Ukrainian legislature, Putin not only protested the law but delivered a 5,000-word written manifesto in which he asserted Ukraine exists as a state due only to Russian tolerance.

“There is no such thing as a separate Ukrainian people,” he said. “They are one with the Russians. The state of Ukraine is an artificial creation, a fluke of history that should be grateful to Russia for allowing it to exist.”

He added: “I am confident that true sovereignty of Ukraine is possible only in partnership with Russia.”

Daniel Williams

Published by Daniel Williams

I am a former correspondent who, for more than 30 years, did time in China, Southeast Asia, Central America, Mexico, the Middle East, Europe and Africa and covered wars that went from episodic to non-stop. My book, "Forsaken," about Christian persecution in the Middle East came out January, 2016. NextWarNotes is a news and analysis blog designed to fill gaps, provide background and think about what’s next. The name of the site comes from a 1935 article by Ernest Hemingway in Esquire Magazine called “Notes on the Next War,” in which he predicted the coming conflagration in Europe, told why it would happen and warned Americans to stay out.

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