Vladimir Putin should be taken seriously, especially when he talks about next-door neighbor Ukraine. From Ray McGovern at antiwar.com:
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s stern warning earlier today not to cross what he called Russia’s “red line” needs to be taken seriously. The more so, as Russia builds up its military capability to respond to any provocations from hotheads in Ukraine and from those in Washington telling them they can give Russia a bloody nose and escape retaliation.
Putin prefaced his his unusually pointed remarks by saying Russia wants “good relations … including, by the way, those with whom we have not been getting along lately, to put it mildly. We really do not want to burn bridges.” In a clear effort to caution provocateurs not only in Kiev, but also in Washington and other NATO capitals, Putin added this warning:
“But if someone mistakes our good intentions for indifference or weakness and intends to burn down or even blow up these bridges, they should know that Russia’s response will be asymmetrical, swift and tough.” Those behind provocations that threaten the core interests of our security will regret what they have done in a way they have not regretted anything for a long time.
At the same time, I just have to make it clear, we have enough patience, responsibility, professionalism, self-confidence and certainty in our cause, as well as common sense, when making a decision of any kind. But I hope that no one will think about crossing the “red line” with regard to Russia. We ourselves will determine in each specific case where it will be drawn.