Putin Defends Actions in Crimea

In his first news conference since the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday defended his actions claiming that “The only thing we had to do, and we did it, was to enhance the defense of our military facilities because they were constantly receiving threats and we were aware of the armed nationalists moving in.” Whereas Western governments have responded to the protests and upheaval in Ukraine as signs of a struggle for democracy, Putin argued that it has been a descent into mob rule and chaos, calling it an “orgy” of violence and an “unconstitutional coup.” He also called deposed pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych the legitimate leader, but said he has no political future. Putin also said he does not want war with Russia’s “brothers in arms” in Ukraine and that while he now has the legal authority to use force in Ukraine, “Such a measure would certainly be the very last resort.”