Since the 2016 Olympics began on August 5th, a number of troubling incidents have occurred that seem to suggest that Russia is planning an escalation of its war against Ukraine, or that at least, Russia wants to create the semblance of a possible escalation. We remind our readers that Russia’s war against Georgia coincided with the start of the 2008 Olympics, and its illegal occupation of Crimea took place under the cover of the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

An assassination attempt on the figurehead of the LNR, Igor Plotnitsky, reportedly took place recently; since then, Plotnitsky has issued a statement, and has returned to doing whatever it is a figurehead of a Russian militant-terrorist organization normally does. There has also been a significant buildup of Russian military units in the Crimea peninsula, including in the area between the Kherson oblast of Ukraine, and the Russia-occupied Crimea oblast. In line with its methodology of provokatsya, Putin’s regime has now released a series of allegations against Ukraine, which allege that a Ukrainian “subversive group” attempted to break into Crimea under the cover of heavy artillery fire, on August 8th. One of the organizers of the “attack” is a certain Evgeny Panov – all that’s missing is a Right Sector business card. It’s not yet clear why Russia left a two day window between the alleged incident and an official government statement about the incident.

On August 10th, a disoriented, fidgety, and nervous Putin commented on the alleged events in Crimea. Admittedly, the quality of the source clip’s audio is not ideal, and is further compromised by the shuttering of cameras. We welcome any improvements to the translation.

0:00: It’s worrying information that indeed, our Security Services were able to thwart an effort by a Ukrainian subversive group, of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. And of course, at this point, talks in the Normandy format are pointless.

0:30: Because, by the look of things, those who captured power in Kyiv, and who continue to hold on to it, instead of looking for those compromises about which I just spoke [inaudible]… instead of looking for a peaceful settlement, have started using methods of terror.

Putin mentions that these events have happened in the context of an attempt to assassinate the “leader” of the LNR, Igor Plotnitsky.

1:02: And now, there’s been an attempt to break through to the territory of Crimea.

1:12: There are losses on the Russian side. Two soldiers have been killed.

1:21: I would like to turn to our American and European partners. The Kyiv authorities are not looking for a solution through talks, but have shifted to using terror. This is very worrying.

1:42: At first glance, this is a foolish, criminal action that we’ve seen in Crimea. Foolish because it’s impossible to positively influence people living in Crimea through these methods. And criminal because people died.

2:07: But I think that in reality, the situation is even more alarming because there’s no other purpose, in carrying out these actions, than to distract the attention of the [Ukrainian] public of the poor economic situation in Ukraine, to distract from the poor condition of a significant portion of citizens. There’s no other purpose.

2:33: The attempt to provoke conflict, I think, indicates a desire to turn away society’s attention from those who have captured power in Kyiv, and who continue to rob their own people, attempting to retain that power to further rob their own citizens.

3:04: This attempt with [inaudible] means is a very dangerous game. We will, of course, do everything to ensure the safety of the infrastructure and citizens. We will take additional measures for safety, [mumbling, inaudible]. And not only that.

3:35: But the main thing is that those who support the current Kyiv authorities should determine what they want. They want their clients to continue to engage in such provocations, or do they want a real peaceful settlement? If they really want this, which I very much hope, they should really apply corresponding pressure to the Kyiv authorities.

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