Putin alert for signs of eroding Western unity on Ukraine

It might have been a deliberately over-the-top performance calculated to rattle Western allies at a particularly challenging juncture of the nearly 4-month-old Ukraine war.


World News

June 20, 2022 - 3:24 PM

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with volunteers at the Kremlin in 2021. (Alexey Druzhinin/SPUTNIK/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

WASHINGTON — Vladimir Putin looked very much at ease.

In a much-viewed video this month, the Russian president settled deep into his armchair, wearing an expression of bored nonchalance. In a matter-of-fact tone, he likened himself to a modern-day Peter the Great, the empire-building Russian czar, and suggested that the conquest of a sovereign neighbor’s territory was not only justifiable, but laudable.

“Taking it back and strengthening it,” the 69-year-old Putin said, describing Peter’s 18th-century seizure of a strategic stretch of Baltic seacoast from Sweden. Now, he serenely told a group of Russian entrepreneurs, this duty “has also fallen to us.”

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