Vincent Boland: Putin’s brinkmanship is leading to the very opposite of what he wants

The Russian president’s posturing on Ukraine betrays all the signs of an isolated leader becoming detached from reality

Putin’s denialism is at the root of the crisis that has erupted in the past few months on Ukraine’s borders, where tens of thousands of Russian troops are installed, perhaps ahead of an invasion. Picture: Getty

Last July, before the prospect of a war in eastern Europe was really a thing, Russian president Vladimir Putin wrote an essay that drew gasps of admiration from his admirers and gasps of astonishment from everybody else. The 5,000-word epic argued that Ukraine was not a real country, but a renegade province of Russia that must be brought back to the motherland.

Putin asserted that Russia and Ukraine were “essentially the same historical and spiritual ...