The Kremlin, it appears, is in denial.
It denied carrying out air strikes on Aleppo last week.
It denied attempting to stage a coup in Montenegro last month.
It denied hacking the Democratic National Committee's servers this summer.
It has long denied that its Olympic athletes were doping.
It denied kidnapping Estonian law enforcement officer Eston Kohver from Estonian soil.
And for years it's been denying that Russian troops are in the Donbas.
I could go on, but you get the point.
With a wink, a nod, and a smirk, Vladimir Putin's regime is denying things anybody who is paying attention knows are true.
As the irrepressible Darth Putin recently tweeted, it's a good idea not to believe anything is true until the Kremlin denies it.
And there's actually a lot of truth to this.
Because there is a method to the Kremlin's denial madness.
By denying things that are obviously true, that the available evidence clearly shows it to be doing, the Putin regime is effectively giving the West the finger.
It's saying facts don't matter and we'll do as we please.
It's saying: sure we're doing these things; sure we're invading our neighbors and kidnapping their citizens; sure we're trying to undermine your societies and destabilize your politics; sure we're breaking all the rules and behaving like an international crime syndicate.
And so what? What are you going to do about it?