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What's Mine Is Mine, What's Yours Is Negotiable (Transcript)

  • Brian Whitmore

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

According to Dmitry Peskov, it just doesn't matter what Ukraine thinks about Russia's illegal seizure of Crimea.

Asked in a televised interview this weekend about whether Kyiv would ever recognize the annexation, the Kremlin spokesman said "it's not that important."

Those words speak volumes. They say to Ukraine: What's mine is mine and what's yours is negotiable.

And they pretty much sum up Moscow's attitude toward all of its former Soviet vassals.

It's not important what Georgians think about the fact that Russia occupies 20 percent of their territory.

It's not important what Moldovans think about the Kremlin stoking a frozen conflict in Transdniester.

It's not important that strong and consistent majorities in Ukraine and Georgia favor joining European institutions.

It's not important because, in the words of Vladimir Putin, Ukraine isn't a real country and in the words of State Duma deputy Pavel Shperov, Russia's neighbors are "so-called countries."

And it's not important because the Kremlin has pretty much gotten away with treating its neighbors as colonies.

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In fact, even the international isolation that followed the Crimea annexation three years ago appears to be easing.

Today, for example, Japan and Russia will resume their two-plus-two talks between their defense and foreign ministers, which were suspended after the annexation.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is reportedly planning to visit Moscow next month.

And German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit Russia in May.

So it's no wonder that the Kremlin thinks that it just doesn't matter what the Ukrainians think about Russia seizing their territory.

Keep telling me what you think on The Power Vertical's Twitter feed and on our Facebook page.

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