Ukraine crisis: Putin serves up fishy feast in show of Crimean strength
Sunday 25 May 2014
If revenge is a dish best served cold, then Vladimir Putin produced a decidedly fishier version yesterday during a lavish dinner hosted for representatives of the international media.
In an an apparent gesture of defiance to global disapproval of his annexation of part of Ukraine, the Russian leader seemingly asserted his control of the disputed region by putting a Crimean fish dish on the menu.
Following his interview with senior executives and correspondents of international news agencies - including several from countries, such as the UK, US, Germany and France, which have imposed sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine - the Russian president hosted a lavish dinner in his Constantine Palace residence near St Petersburg.
The menu included a number of national delicacies including Crimean flounder with artichokes and was topped by the Russian imperial symbol of the black double-headed eagle, used by tsars including Catherine the Great, who first absorbed Crimea into the Russian empire in the 18th century.
And the meal was washed down by wines from the Black Sea vineyards of Divnomorskoye, in the Russian district immediately neighbouring Crimea.
The entry of Crimea into the Russian Federation in March has been recognised by only a handful of countries, though Mr Putin used yesterday's interview to restate his view that the action was in accordance with the right to self-determination of the people of the peninsula, who voted overwhelmingly in a disputed referendum to split from Ukraine.
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