(The New York Times – "Away From Show of Diplomacy in Geneva, Putin Puts On a Show of His Own") MOSCOW — Even as the world’s top diplomats were gingerly drafting a tentative accord to “de-escalate tensions” in Ukraine, President Vladimir V. Putin was on national television here, brashly declaring Russia’s historical claims over Ukrainian territory, reiterating a threat to use military force and generally sounding a defiant, even mocking, tone toward the United States.
Mr. Putin, appearing cool and confident during a four-hour question-and-answer show, referred repeatedly to southeast Ukraine as “New Russia” — a historical term for the area north of the Black Sea that the Russian Empire conquered in the 1700s. And, he said, only “God knows” why the region became part of Ukraine in the 1920s, signaling that he would gladly correct that error. […]
Mr. Putin’s view that the West has lied to Russia and humiliated him on numerous occasions, including its plans for Libya, explain why he will continue to talk — and act — tough on Ukraine even as he takes diplomatic steps toward resolving the crisis, said Samuel Charap, the senior fellow for Russia and Eurasia at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a research organization in Washington.
“They are going to keep the boots on Ukraine’s throat until they are 100 percent convinced that they have gotten what they wanted,” Mr. Charap said in an interview. “They believe that if they completely pulled back from the pressure they are applying, tomorrow the West would swoop in and try to steal Ukraine away again.”
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