This week's alleged Crimea incident is, in many ways, a sign of the times.
It's a story without verifiable facts.
Instead, there are only narratives.
Russia claims, without any real evidence, that Ukraine sent agent-saboteurs to Crimea to carry out "terrorist" attacks and were thwarted by the FSB.
Ukraine says no such thing happened.
Moscow says it has captured a group of Ukrainian spies.
Kyiv says at least one of these -- Yevhen Panov, a truck driver from Zaporizhzhya -- was actually kidnapped.
The Kremlin says a shootout took place on the boundary separating mainland Ukraine from Russian-occupied Crimea.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry says there were indeed shots fired, but only by Russian forces.
Confused? Well that's sort of the point.
This is all emblematic of the post-fact world the Kremlin prefers to operate in -- one where what matters isn't what actually happened, but rather the story you can spin about what happened.
It's a world where the truth is negotiable.
It's a world where a popular uprising in Ukraine is magically transformed through the dark art of spin into a fascist coup.
It's a world where Russian media reports fictitious stories about children being crucified in Ukraine.
It's a world where the clear shooting down of a civilian airliner by pro-Moscow separatists becomes a mystery we will never get to the bottom of.
It's a world where a Russian effort to prop up a dictator in Syria becomes an antiterrorist operation.
The Kremlin wants a post-fact and post-truth world because, in such a world, anything goes and only might makes right.
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