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Reprinted from Ray McGovern Blog
Letters to the Editor, Washington Post, July 1, 2015
In his June 28 Sunday Opinion essay, "The Ukraine cease-fire fiction," Sen. John McCain was wrong to write that Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea without provocation.
What about the coup in Kiev on Feb. 22, 2014, that replaced President Viktor Yanukovych with pro-Western leaders favoring membership in NATO? Was that not provocation enough?
This glaring omission is common in The Post. The March 10 World Digest item "Putin had early plan to annex Crimea" described a "secret meeting" Mr. Putin held on Feb. 23, 2014, during which "Russia decided it would take the Crimean Peninsula." No mention was made of the coup the previous day.
I have searched in vain for credible evidence that, before the coup, Mr. Putin had any intention to annex Crimea. George Friedman, the widely respected president of the think tank Stratfor, has described the putsch on Feb. 22, 2014, as "the most blatant coup in history."
Ray McGovern, Arlington
The writer is former chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch of the CIA.