“The thing we all knew was going to happen continues to happen at a slightly faster pace,” said Stephen Colbert on Tuesday evening, hours after Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops into two separatist regions of eastern Ukraine, in a sharp escalation of already sky-high tensions.
Putin had already unilaterally declared the breakaway Ukrainian provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent republics on Monday. “Smart – he declares them independent and then when he sends troops in, he can technically say, ‘That’s not an invasion of Ukraine, because that’s not Ukraine any more,’” the Late Show host said. “And at this point, Putin’s most important weapon is his Sharpie” for redrawing the map.
Putin has claimed the troops are for carrying out “peacekeeping functions” – “and it’s true,” said Colbert, describing the logic as: “I keep this piece of Ukraine, I keep that piece of Ukraine, I keep all the pieces of Ukraine, I am piece-keeping.”
In response to aggression along the border with Ukraine, the US government had imposed some economic sanctions, barring new investment, trade and financing by US persons to, from, or in the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk. “Well, that’s a disaster for anyone invested in the Ukrainian coffee chain Dunkin’ Donetsk,” Colbert joked.
But on Tuesday, Joe Biden changed tune: the US government imposed full blockage sanctions on two large Russian financial institutions and on their sovereign debt, which cut off the Kremlin from western financing. “So that means no Russian money can come into the US. There goes Tucker Carlson’s sponsors,” Colbert quipped.
In Los Angeles, Jimmy Kimmel mocked the botched launch of Donald Trump’s app Truth Social, which is supposed to be his alternative to Twitter. “You’re not going to believe this but the rollout did not go well,” Kimmel explained. “Some might even call it a total disaster.
“Truth Social has been such a disappointment so far that Trump may have to rename it to Don Jr.”
The app’s initial sign-up function failed for many people, with an error message that read: “Something went wrong, please try again.”
“Which applies to so many things Trump is involved with,” said Kimmel. “Then they changed it to say they put you on a waitlist, because of what they claimed was massive demand.
“It’s like if Trump designed a bridge that collapsed and said, ‘Oh, the bridge was just too popular. Too many people wanted to drive on my fantastic bridge,’” he joked.
That wasn’t the only snafu; as Kimmel pointed out, the Truth Social logo was copied from the logo for a British company called Trailar. “You know, there’s a lot of conversation about Trump being a fascist and trying to overthrow an election, all that stuff, and rightfully so,” said Kimmel, ‘“but I think we sometimes forget: he’s a terrible business man, too.”
On Late Night, Seth Meyers laughed at Putin’s labeling of Russian troops in eastern Ukraine as “peacekeepers” – “specifically, they’re keeping this piece,” he said.
He also characterized severe new economic sanctions on Russia in response to the troop movement as: “From now on, Russia doesn’t get the new Wordle until noon.
“Russian Wordle is very easy,” he added, “because it’s always ‘Putin’.”
Meyers also touched on a New York Times op-ed titled “Ignoring a text message or email isn’t always rude. Sometimes it’s necessary.”
“I think I speak for everyone when I say: k,” he noted.
And on the Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon also discussed the Russian invasion of proxy states in eastern Ukraine. “Biden gave a speech at the White House and said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has officially begun,” Fallon noted.
“Biden said: ‘We will not put up with Russian aggression, especially on such an important national holiday: Twosday.’”
Biden also announced tough new sanctions, with the EU expected to follow suit. “Yeah, nothing stops a dictator in his tracks like raising his ATM fees,” Fallon joked.
On a lighter note, the AP international reporter Philip Crowther went viral for posting a video in which he reported from Kiev, Ukraine in six different languages: French, Spanish, Portuguese, English, German and Luxembourgish.
“He also knows six different ways to say, ‘I’m ready to leave Ukraine now, this could be a Zoom,’” Fallon quipped.