Ukraine crisis: Putin shows who is boss in Crimea

It was a typical display by Russia’s action-man President, Vladimir Putin, clambering into a mini submarine and plunging to the depths of the Black Sea.The waves first washed over his glass bubble, then swallowed it, with underwater cameras capturing the slow slide down.Officially, the dive was designed to view an ancient shipwreck on the seabed.But it was also about demonstrating who is boss here now. Vladimir Putin is spending three days in Crimea with a whole delegation of senior Russian politicians and business figures in tow.On dry land, Mr Putin said Crimea’s future had been decided by its own people.Kiev has condemned the visit as an attempt to whip up tensions, and underlined that Crimea’s only possible future was back with Ukraine.So when Vladimir Putin docked for a moment in Sevastopol, I put that point to him.”The future of Crimea was determined by the people who live on this land,” the president replied on the quayside, stony-faced and unequivocal.”They voted to be united with Russia. That’s it. Full stop.”The results of a hastily-called vote on joining Russia did show overwhelming support in Crimea for annexation.But the March 2014 referendum that Moscow hailed as the people’s choice, was held with armed men on the streets and in clear violation of Ukraine’s constitution.

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