A day after giving the AFP an exclusive interview in which he said his country would not use military force to take back Crimea, Ukraine's acting president Oleksandr Turchynov has gone on a bit of a media offensive, penning an op-ed in the New York Times.
In it, Turchynov makes the case for both Ukraine's continued independence and the futility of Putin's attempt to re-create the Soviet Union now, which Turchynov predicts could lead to a new Cold War.
He adds that Russia is using its military to intervene in Ukraine's affairs, provoking Ukraine into a war it does not want and that no one would win:
In Crimea, Russian troops have blockaded our government buildings, taken over our communications infrastructure and seized our military bases and weapons depots — all the while provoking Ukraine to respond with force and provide a pretext for a full-scale military invasion by Russia. These tactics bear a close resemblance to those deployed in South Ossetia and Abkhazia during the 2008 Russia-Georgia war.
It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States. Is it in America's long-term interest? I doubt it. Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan 'you're either with us or against us.'
Putin was talking about Syria then and not Ukraine, where things are apparently the opposite. (Or, as The Wire wrote last year: "peace comes from strength when that strength belongs to Russia. Otherwise, it's up to the United Nations Security Council.")
It's doubtful Putin will plead his case in the Times again; Russia has so far been unreceptive to talks with Ukraine and Secretary of State John Kerry recently cancelled his trip to the country. And he doesn't need to. He has plenty of state-funded and "independent" media on his side. And if it isn't, the Kremlin will simply replace the editor with someone who is.