Fake referendums held in four regions, in which armed soldiers went door to door asking people how they wanted to vote, produced predictably large majorities in favour of annexation. This was a sickening parody of the ‘will of the people’ but it at least demonstrated that Putin still cannot say what he really is and requires a fake democratic cloak to hide his tyranny.
The threat of a nuclear strike is an attempt to intimidate Ukraine and the West. Earlier this week Putin ally Dmitry Medvedev warned “Russia has the right to use nuclear weapons if necessary”, adding that he did not believe Nato would intervene in the conflict “even in this scenario”. “The demagogues across the ocean and in Europe are not going to die in a nuclear apocalypse,” he said.
Putin’s regime launched an utterly unnecessary and unjust war of conquest, but are now faced with the prospect of defeat. Their wild threats to use nuclear weapons show how scared they are and expose their lies that Russian forces are “liberators”.
In these dangerous times, the West must remain calm and resolute, and work to persuade those countries not already convinced that Putin is a profound danger to the world of the need to work towards his downfall.