Putin's made-for-TV security debate a display of imperial power

Russia’s president lines up state officials to repeat arguments for recognising Ukraine’s eastern separatist regions

Russian President Vladimir Putin at the signing of the decree. Mr Leonid Pasechnik of the Luhansk People’s Republic and Mr Denis Pushilin of the Donetsk People’s Republic are seen in the background. PHOTO: REUTERS
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(FINANCIAL TIMES) - For Mr Vladimir Putin's extraordinary meeting with his top security officials on Monday, he chose the Kremlin's ornate Hall of the Order of St Catherine. Designed by the czars to show off the glories of Russia's empire, the setting perfectly underscored how much the President has come to resemble his autocratic forebears of old.

In a made-for-TV spectacle, Mr Putin asked his subordinates one after the other to make the case for recognising two separatist-held territories in eastern Ukraine - a move that the West fears could mark the start of a war between Moscow and Kyiv, with as many as 190,000 Russian troops massed around Ukraine's borders.

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