If you needed any evidence that Putin, Russia or anyone associated with them were war criminals, well, here you go.
Russian pundits were furious over Biden’s surprise visit to Ukraine, questioning whether or not a “retaliatory strike” is in order.
In recent days, pundits and experts on Russian state television discussed the anticipated visit of U.S. President Joe Biden to Poland, confidently asserting that he would never dare travel to war-torn Ukraine. The news that Biden spent Presidents Day in Kyiv, alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, hit the Kremlin’s mouthpieces like a ton of bricks.
Visibly unsettled, 60 Minutes host Olga Skabeeva announced, “The White House has confirmed that Biden really is in the Ukrainian capital. He really came to the Ukrainian capital. Zelensky just published the pictures… There he is, Biden, in the flesh.” The program then played footage of the smiling American president walking alongside Zelensky and shaking hands with Ukrainian officials. The clip was set to dramatic music more suitable for a horror movie.
The reactions in the studio matched the sinister music. Military expert Evgeny Buzhinsky surmised, “Clearly, the West is headed towards an escalation… I think we should also cautiously start to walk down a path of escalation… The West has many vulnerabilities.” Buzhinsky floated his ideas for attacking Americans in retaliation for their alleged involvement in blowing up the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, proposing that Russia attack American pipelines at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, and the Norwegian Sea.
Unimpressed, Skabeeva interrupted, “At the same time, Americans seemingly assume that we aren’t planning to respond to anything, since they’re sending even their Biden to Ukraine.” She questioned the wisdom of Russia going along with the trip and purportedly agreeing not to strike Kyiv during the presidential visit: “If we gave these security guarantees, then what for?” Buzhinsky replied, “Well, you know, perhaps we could have whacked Biden, but it would have been too much.” Skabeeva retorted, “So it’s too much to whack Biden, but it’s OK to threaten Putin and it’s also fine to blow up the Nord Stream? It’s not about aggression, it’s about the logic: where is it?”
Buzhinsky didn’t object to the idea of killing the American president, as long as his replacement was more in line with Russia’s interests. He wasn’t comfortable with the thought of Vice President Kamala Harris at the helm, claiming that, unlike Biden, Harris would be completely unrestrained in her response to Russia and would present an even worse option for the Kremlin. As opposed to Skabeeva’s suggestion of assassinating Biden, he regretted that the U.S. president wasn’t at least terrorized during his trip. Buzhinsky daydreamed that if Biden traveled to Ukraine by helicopter, he would have been escorted by Russian planes all the way to Kyiv, leaving him with an indelible impression.
Irritated, Skabeeva pointed out, “Following your logic, if we’re not starting this confrontation because the replacement will be even worse, then why did we even start this at all? What if everything will only get worse?” She claimed that Biden is “promising to destroy and dismember the Russian Federation.” Buzhinsky stressed that the American president was not the first world leader to visit Kyiv, and Russia should have started by taking out former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson: “If we wanted to do this, we should have started much sooner.”
Buzhinsky tried to temper Skabeeva’s expectations by noting, “You’re constantly going to extremes, proposing we start with maximum measures: ‘Let’s waste Biden.’ There are also fans of proposing nuclear strikes against Washington, erasing Paris and London from the face of the earth. I’m not in agreement with this.”
Pointing to the photograph of Biden hugging Zelensky, Skabeeva bitterly interrupted, “I think this is the photo of the year… both of them are crying and are endlessly happy to see each other! As far as me resorting to extremes, I’m not for extreme measures. What I’m saying is that Russia’s special operation in Ukraine has been going on for a year and is far from reaching its goals. There is a huge number of deaths. The United States of America and the entire so-called collective West are acting as though we’re incapable of some kind of a retaliatory strike. We keep demonstrating our peacefulness.”
Buzhinsky suggested that Russia should start its retaliatory actions against the United States by striking Elon Musk’s Starlink internet service, launching a series of cyberattacks, and pulling out of the grain deal by refusing to renew it, since it is on the verge of expiration.
Dmitriy Abzalov, president of the Center for Strategic Communications, grimly noted that Russia’s military humiliations were to blame for the current state of affairs: “A year went by. We’re paying for what happened last year during the fall… We’ve created this trampoline through our own mistakes… We’re anticipating that something will change, something will happen in the near future and it will be a very important factor. We are spending a lot on this, economically and politically… We should realize that there is a limited trust, because there already were attempts to change something. It’s very important that something starts happening. Otherwise, a long-term confrontation lasting more than a year is a totally different conflict.”
Pointing to a screen showing additional footage from Biden’s joint press conference with Zelensky, Skabeeva dryly noted, “This is the finest hour of the Ukrainian president.”
Political analyst Sergei Markov, who was reportedly a former advisor to Putin, was likewise unable to lighten up the mood. With a heavy sigh, Markov said, “I look at the sunny city of Kyiv… after junta usurped the power in 2014, I regret that we’ve been prohibited from visiting it. We hope that thanks to the Army of Russia, we’ll be able to come to our glorious city… to enjoy all the beauty that is currently being enjoyed by the leader of the occupation force, President of the United States Joe Biden… This is a huge victory for Biden. He largely cemented his own ability to run for another term in the next election.”