Failing to Defeat Them, Putin Asks Ukrainian Soldiers to Stage a Coup

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses a press conference with the Hungarian Prime Min

Russian leader Vladimir Putin called on Ukranian soldiers on Friday to defect and stage a coup against President Volodymyr Zelensky, whose government Russia has so far failed to topple despite launching a “full-scale” invasion on Thursday.

Addressing a meeting of the Russian Security Council on Friday, Vladimir Putin said that Ukrainian Army should “take control” of the country as it would be “easier” for him to negotiate with the military, rather than what he termed as “junkies and neo-Nazis” under the control of President Zelensky.

In breif but bellicose remarks, the Russian strongman accused “neo-Nazis” in Ukraine of using women and children as human shields, comparing the Ukrainians to “terrorists.”

“They plan to provoke return fire from Russian strike systems on residential areas. In fact, they act in the same way as terrorists do around the world, hiding behind people in the hope of later blaming Russia for the civilian casualties,” the Russian leader said according to a transcript from Russia’s state-owned Sputnik News.

The claim came shortly after the Ukraniain foreign minister accused the Russians of committing “war crimes” by shelling a kindergarten in Sumy province.

Despite engaging in warfare across the country, including bombarding the capital of Kyiv, Russia has yet to confirm any losses, while Ukraine, for its part, has said that it has killed over 1,000 Russian soldiers and lost 137 of its own.

On the second day of failing to topple the Zelensky government, Putin launched an “appeal to the servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine” to conduct a coup against the government for him.

“Do not allow neo-Nazis and Bandera supporters to use your children, your wives, and elderly people as human shields. Take power into your own hands,” Putin said. “It seems that it will be easier for us to come to an agreement than with this gang of junkies and neo-Nazis, who settled in Kyiv and took the entire Ukrainian people hostage.”

Prior to launching a full on military assault on Ukraine, Putin claimed that the government in Kyiv is illegitimate and merely a puppet of the West and NATO. In a speech on Monday, he said that the Donbas regions of Donetsk and Luhansk – which are partially controlled by Russian proxy paramilitary forces – should be recognised as sovereign and sent in “peacekeepers” to the region.

On Thursday, Putin announced a “special military operation” and has since gone on to launch attacks throughout the former Soviet satellite state, which he has claimed “was completely created by Russia” and does not have a “tradition of being an independent country.”

In addition to so-called “peacekeeping,” Putin has maintained that his aim is to “denazify” Ukraine, suggesting that the Zelensky government is an illegitimate Nazi regime that came to power as a result of a “coup” against former President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014, who resigned after widespread protests.

Zelensky, who is Jewish and indeed the grandson of World War II veterans who fought against the Nazi regime, came to power in 2019 in a free and fair election in which he defeated Yanukovych’s successor, Petro Poroshenko. His rise did not have any direct ties to the events of 2014, in which he was not a major player – he was still at the time a professional comedian about a year out from the success of his breakthrough sitcom Servant of the People.

In his address to the Russian Security Council on Friday, Putin claimed that the “main clashes” seen by the Russian army came from “nationalist formations”, which he claimed were “directly responsible for the genocide in Donbass and the bloodshed of civilians in the people’s republics.”

Demonstrating further, perhaps, the inability of Russian forces to take over the country, the Putin has also signalled that he would be open to starting negotiations with Kyiv upon the urging of his counterpart in Beijing, Chinese dictator Xi Jinping.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


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