Last night I received a last-minute invitation to a lunch today with Vladimir Putin’s representative to Washington.
I paused for a moment and then said, fine, let’s hear about the Kremlin’s version of the Ukraine crisis from a genuine source.
I arrived at the fashionable DC club and was nonplussed when our host announced that Ambassador Sergey Kislyak would only speak off the record. As a result I cannot quote for you the narrative he pushed on his audience, but I don’t think much of it would surprise you.
Instead I will simply list for you the the most important things that the ambassador did not say:
– Ambassador Kislyak did not comment on how all the Russia troops deployed against Ukrainian forces without unit insignia and nationality designators are in contravention of the Hague and Geneva conventions on the Laws of War.
– He did not recognize that the oft-used analogy of Kosovo used by Moscow to justify its land grab is irrelevant. While the US was indeed involved in that conflict, we did not make Kosovo the 51st American state as Russia has just done by swallowing Crimea. (The ambassador also didn’t mention that our troops, and those of our NATO allies, did not deploy insignia-less and in ski-masks.)
– He did not answer the question, “What kind of country has troops that look like bank robbers?”
– Nor did he comment on the fact that the official 97% pro-Moscow result of the referendum held at gun-point in Crimea is only comparable to the kind of electoral results Hugo Chavez and Saddam Hussein used to proudly trumpet. (Having lived in a post-communist former dictatorship, my rule of thumb is that any election that brings more than 60% or 70% for anyone is probably rigged, the result of intimidation, or both.)
– Lastly, he did not discuss at all what kind of person – working for what kind of agency – was assigned to represent the USSR at the United Nations in the 1980s as he was. (See Amb. Kislyak’s bio here.)
Clearly what Russian ambassadors do not say is as important – even more important – than what they do say.
Sebastian Gorka PhD is the National Security Editor for Breitbart.com.