"I would like to say - there's no need to be afraid of Russia," Putin told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera in an interview published Saturday, ruling out a major conflict between Russia and NATO member countries.
"The world has changed so much that people in their right mind cannot imagine such a large-scale military conflict today."
"We have other things to do, I can assure you," the Russian president said.
"Only a sick person -- and even then only in his sleep -- can imagine that Russia would suddenly attack NATO."
This is comedy gold.
Normally, the good cop/bad cop routine requires two cops. That's why Putin keeps his hand puppet Medvedev around, isn't it?
I guess we have to count on the possibility that Putin's actions have just attached the electrodes to his own junk:
Putin has indeed managed to baffle, bewilder, and distract everybody with his hybrid war in Ukraine. But the consequences of his failures and mistakes will likely be much more enduring than his shock-and-awe tactics.
Let's hope Neo-Red, lion-taming Putin is more of a pink panther.
UPDATE: Speaking of a sick person's fevered dreams:
The Nazi-Soviet pact that divided Poland in 1939 - which saw Moscow seize much of what is now Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic States - is now seen in a positive light. A new justification has been found for the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and some of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's worst crimes have been played down. ...
Russian children will also learn in the new textbooks how Putin's Soviet and Tsarist predecessors repeatedly defended Russia against Western aggression and machinations.
Yeah. Sometimes bad things happen to good people, I guess.
How do you possibly "reset" that way of thinking?
UPDATE: Putin formally ended some leverage I worried about early in the crisis:
Yet another casualty of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is supply lines for Western troops in Afghanistan. In response to sanctions Russia has shut down railroad access to Afghanistan via Central Asia and Russia.
This is one advantage of our reduction of troops in Afghanistan--apart from whether we have enough to win there. Lines of supply through Pakistan don't give Pakistanis the leverage to cut it because now in an emergency we could maintain an air bridge. So land supply in that route is more secure, I think.
So we have more freedom to support Ukraine's resistance to Russia's invasion.
And a civilian supply line through Iran is being developed by India. Which would be nice for us regarding Afghanistan if Iran gets a non-nutball regime.