Editorial: Russia must be held accountable


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If it wasn’t blatantly obvious before, it is now clear — Russian President Vladimir Putin did in fact order troops to seize Crimea weeks before the formal referendum for its split from Ukraine was initiated.

The confession occurs in the most peculiar of places, a melodramatic trailer for a documentary made for Russian’s state TV. The clip consists primarily of Putin’s admission to an interviewer, backed with dramatic B-roll including fleets of helicopters, tanks, and battleships all set to intense background music. For a couple seconds, it feels as if you are watching a movie instead of witnessing real life news.

But in many ways, this is a movie — Putin’s movie. And he has been the producer, director, and the writer.

Rewriting the story, Putin has changed the script of his own involvement in the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. It has changed from denying any involvement in deploying Russian troops to now celebrating those who helped in the conquest of the region with honorary medals signifying their completed duty.

The measure was carried for a cause in which Putin frames as crucial to saving the life of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Crimea after violent riots and protests wreaked havoc through the streets of Kiev, the capital.

The recent revelation from Putin portrays him as one of a concerned diplomat rather than a conniving dictator. But this public admittance through the use of propaganda clips posing as educational documentary doesn’t change what has else has happened in the region. Russia’s unrelenting behavior in the pursuit of extending its borders through violent military use in eastern Ukraine violates rules in both NATO and the EU. Thousands of lives have been lost as a result of Russia’s intrusion.

It’s apparent that Putin cannot be trusted by the United States and European countries. The world has witnessed ruthless dictators who hunger for regional domination through the use of misleading the world and their own citizens. Confidence that the current Russian regime is being honest and trustworthy is now completely lost. This past year that officials in Moscow have denied the Crimean invasion have likely been spent to draw up new plans — tactics to conquer Ukraine completely.

Sanctions have proven ineffective in any sort of policy change, and the Daily Iowan Editorial Board reaffirms our position that NATO must push back against Russia. It’s crucial that Western leaders consider the deployment of NATO troops in the eastern Ukrainian region to stop the impending and inevitable tactics from the Kremlin. Any direct communication from Putin to the United States should be treated as insincere rhetoric. There is no telling what else he been lying about as it relates to his true intentions in establishing dominance over Ukraine and the rest of Eastern Europe.

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