Russian President Vladimir Putin insists that Russia is not invading Ukraine (his government says any Russian troops found fighting alongside the rebels in eastern Ukraine are either vacationing there or just lost). It is no secret that he is lying, as there is a growing mountain of evidence of the Russian invasion. Increasingly, that evidence is so glaring that even for Putin the brazenness is just staggering.
The latest neon-lit "we are invading Ukraine and not even trying to hide it" moment came on Friday, when someone in the Russian border region of Rostov took a video of a Russian T-72 tank being trucked through town. That in itself might not be so damning — Russian tanks have been massing at the Ukrainian border for months — were it not for the fact that Russian troops had painted "For Donbass" on the side of the tank.
Donbass is the region of eastern Ukraine where Russian troops are invading to bolster Russia-backed separatist rebels.
It's difficult to overemphasize just how brazen that is. It would be as if the US invaded Mexico, insisted that it was definitely not invading Mexico, and then 10 days into the invasion someone photographed an M-1 Abrams tank in San Diego with the words "For Tijuana" written in giant letters on the side.
The discovery was made by Russian-language Twitter use Timur Khorev, who even identified a distinctive Rostov restaurant in the background of the video to verify the location. New York Times Moscow-based reporter Andrew Roth translated the tweet into English: "Tank with 'For Donbass' in stenciled Cyrillic near a popular bar in Kamensk-Shakhtinsky Russia."