March 5th, 2014
04:09 AM ET

Obama: Putin is Not Fooling Anybody

Russian and American leaders paint starkly different pictures of Ukraine, blaming each other for a crisis that shows no signs of simmering down.

A defiant Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that masked gunmen are fueling anarchy in Ukraine. He decried what he called an illegitimate government that illegally seized power in a coup with U.S. backing, arguing that his country has a right to use military force.

U.S. President Barack Obama and his country's top diplomat said Ukraine's new government is democratically responding to the people's will. They warned of invading forces and a desperate Russia breaking international law.

"President Putin seems to have a different set of lawyers making a different set of interpretations," Obama said, "but I don't think that's fooling anybody."

Putin blamed Western powers, particularly the United States, for causing what he called "anarchy and armed coup" in Ukraine.

"I have a feeling people in America sit in some lab doing experiments, like on rats," he said, "without knowing consequences."

The conflicting descriptions are enough to give you whiplash. Ukraine's shaky new government is caught in the middle, and it's clear that world powers don't see eye to eye over basic facts about what's happening.

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