Speed Reads

Crisis in Ukraine

Putin aide: That 'taking Kiev in 2 weeks' line was 'taken out of context'

Over the weekend, Russian President Vladimir Putin raised some eyebrows for telling outgoing European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso that if he wanted to, "I can take Kiev in two weeks." That may well be true, but it was surprising that Putin would say it out loud to a senior Western official.

Well, on Tuesday, Putin foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov said Putin didn't say that, exactly. "Irrespective of whether these words were pronounced or not, this quote was taken out of context and had a very different meaning," he is quoted as saying by Russia's Itar-Tass news service.

Ushakov seemed most miffed, though, that Barroso would share the details of his conversation with Putin, calling it "incorrect" and "beyond the bounds of diplomatic practices." If Barroso really did tell fellow ministers such details, he added, "it looks not worthy of a serious political figure."