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Is Putin After Regime Change In Ukraine?

It looks like Russian President Vladimir Putin's beef with Ukraine is a bit deeper than unpaid gas bills. At a press conference yesterday (watch above) at his residence in Novo-Ogaryovo, Putin appeared to question the very legitimacy of the leadership in Kyiv.

"Ukraine's leadership is unable to organize normal, transparent functioning economy based on market principals," Putin said, adding that "we are witnessing a political collapse in Ukraine."

Was this just overheated rhetoric? Putin did appear a bit more agitated and jumpy than usual at the press conference.

Or was it a call for regime change? If so, it would follow a similar pattern to Russia's conflict with Georgia this summer, after which Moscow argued that President Mikheil Saakashvili had lost his legitimacy, refused to deal with him, and called for him to be replaced.

Can Viktor Yushchenko expect similar treatment soon?

-- Brian Whitmore

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