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Foreign affairs

Russian news site: The invasion of Ukraine is all 'tea, sandwiches, music'

Russian news site: The invasion of Ukraine is all 'tea, sandwiches, music'

With headlines like "Ukraine readies for an invasion by Russia" and "PM says Ukraine on the brink of disaster," media outlets in the U.S. and Western Europe have largely condemned Putin's military intervention in the Crimea. But Russians are hearing a very different story.

That's from Russia Today, the Kremlin's English-language news site, which went on to say that "contrary to expectations, security in Crimea has actually become more stable" since Russia invaded. For those of us who don't read Cyrillic, RT can give a taste of what Russians are seeing and hearing.

Here's a selection of other headlines from the site:

- "Ukrainian troops dispatched in Crimea switch to region's side - sources"

- "675,000 Ukrainians pour into Russia as 'humanitarian crisis' looms"

- "Will be a war crime to use force against Ukraine civilians, Russia warns self-proclaimed president"

- "Russia's UN envoy: Radical forces destabilising Ukraine must be stopped"

RT also has been running live footage of a pro-Russian rally in Simferopol, a city in southeastern Ukraine.

As Reuters outlines, the Russian press — which research organization Freedom House has simply labeled "not free" due to Putin's stranglehold on it — has been swamped with the Kremlin's messaging of the invasion.

On Russian television, weeks of footage of wounded policemen and burning tyres have given way to sober pictures of politicians and Ukrainians predicting Ukraine will split after opposition forces took control in Kiev and the president fled.

In a sign the Kremlin is shaken by losing a struggle for influence with the West in its neighbor, the language has been set against the us-or-them background of the Soviet victory against Adolf Hitler — a source of national pride. [Reuters]

Of course, Putin's critics have also been quick to invoke comparisons to World War II, with one calling the invasion his "Sudetenland," a reference to Hitler's invasion of Czechoslovakia.