Because of the way MMOs (major media outlets) report on certain realities in the world these days, the question in the headline needs to be grasped first on the merits of its utility. It does not really matter if Vladimir Vladimirovich destroys cuddly domestic pets, or whether such accusation is stupid beyond belief. We have the means to validate whatever beliefs by the wonders of communications technology. The thing to grasp here is whether it is useful to believe that Putin kills kittens. And the finding would be - I guess - yes it is useful. It is useful to believe that because it makes available certain options which the US foreign policy would not normally enjoy.
Now here again I need to pause and digress. I realize that to say anything about anything in terms of norms in our time is felt by the intellectually destitute squatters occupying main street to be deeply abnormal, as they would no doubt describe efforts to be normal as being patriarchal or heterosexist or dinosaural. So, it is really hard to imagine what normal options in US foreign policy would be to begin with in this particular bubble of here-and-now. Especially, since the women who run (which at this juncture means animate) US foreign policy from Michelle Obama down to Mary Harf are not exactly the blushing types. But let us just say that in the olden days, say before Reagan's amiable senility set the policy tone, one would not badmouth foreign dignitaries unless one meant business, that is to say, one really meant to kill the sons-of-bitches. But not even then. Churchill omitted Hitler's titles (even the sarcastic Herr) when referring to him only after the war started.
Not so in our times. For Hillary Clinton whose demeanor epitomizes the contemporary lack of personal culture, not to say norms of diplomatic protocol, Putin is KGB psycho or Hitler or whatever the brainwave washes up on the spikes of her tongue. She does not mean to kill the son-of-a-bitch when she accuses him (a soulful Russian) of lacking a soul. She just does her politico version of twerking for the evening news. He is smart; he'll figure out it isn't for real - it's only for the masses hungering for some exciting news from a woman who cannot be wrong. If she says that Putin (Warning : a graphic description ahead may be disturbing to some readers !) skins the poor critters alive it must be so. And if it rings true in the feeble American grasp of the world that, as Jen Psaki said that the population of Crimea was 'forced to go to the polls facing a false choice' in a 2014, then the claim that the Russian president has vivisectionist tendencies offers tantalizing possibilities in extending NATO to the gates that obsessed the Russian chauvinists since the time immemorial.
So, yes, Putin kills kittens. And we have a proof that ! Well actually, like with the proof of columns of Russian military hardware entering Ukraine, it is more or less in the eye of the beholder. But that does not matter. Let the RT and one of the Rands blow into the wind all they want. The US Senate had a proof of Russian tanks invading Ukraine. We have a proof of Putin killing kittens. It may not be available quite in a consumable packaging but we are all adults and we are sophisticated about the world we live in. And since women rule and the Duchess of Cambridge is into killing kittens as well, the real question is, WTF am I talking about? Ah, yes, the world where women rule !