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‘They looked embarrassed!’ Russia top aides tipped for rebellion against Vladimir Putin

Putin: Aides ‘looked embarrassed’ says expert

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The Russian President announced he recognised two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as independent on Monday and ordered the Russian army to launch what Moscow called a peacekeeping operation into the area, accelerating a crisis the West fears could unleash a major war. Vladimir Putin told Russia’s defence ministry to deploy troops into the two regions to “keep the peace” in a decree issued shortly after announcing recognition for Russian-backed separatists there, drawing US and European condemnation and vows of new sanctions. Political commentator Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Mike Parry discussed how Putin rambled through his speech.

Ms Alibhai-Brown said: “I was still hoping perhaps naively that Putin who is really quite a crazed leader and I think wants to remake the USSR, that something would stop him.

“He looked a bit odd yesterday at his own press conference.

“People around him were looking embarrassed.”

Mr Parry added: “He spent an hour yesterday on a public address to his country, he is crazed.

“It was a rambling, nonsensical, historical view of the way he sees the world going back to the 1600s and how Ukraine belongs to Mother Russia.

“However, how mad am I to say that I think he’s now moved into Donetsk and Luhansk in the Donbas region could be the start and maybe the end.

“He’s had 60 percent of his Armed Forces on the borders of Ukraine now for such a long time that he can’t pull them all back without something happening.

“Can he actually save face by saying, ‘I’ve gained two provinces whilst I’ve been engaged in all this military action’.

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“If he does invade, he hasn’t even got enough troops to occupy the biggest country in Europe.”

Ukrainians in Britain have called for the UK Government to act without delay as Russian troops are ordered into the country.

In a letter sent to Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and copied to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and other ministers, national chairman of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB) Petro Rewko said it is clear the “window for diplomacy” has closed.

He said: “As you will be well aware, the scope for prolonged military threats and potential further aggression is very real and the consequent humanitarian disaster would be unimaginable.

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“History shows us that Russia’s invading forces will have no regard to the safety and human rights of the civilian population, that the death toll will be significant, and that war crimes will be committed.”

He added: “We believe that it is time for the UK Government and its NATO partners to act without further delay, as Russia is intensifying its war against Ukraine now.”

Mr Rewko asked the Government to support Ukraine’s foreign secretary, Dmytro Kuleba, in his call for sanctions.

On Tuesday, Mr Johnson vowed to swiftly introduce the “first barrage” of sanctions against Russia.

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