After Russia precipitated a crisis by amassing upward of 100,000 troops around Ukraine, the standoff was only expected to intensify. The prevailing assumption was that Russian President Vladimir Putin would maintain the pressure in order to retain leverage as American and Russian officials prepare for their Jan. 10 talks in Geneva.
Then a sliver of good news seemed to appear when Putin was reported to have ordered an estimated 10,000 of those troops back to their bases in southern Russia on Saturday. These media accounts are in dispute. If true, the move could be a gesture acknowledging President Biden’s decision to defer the planned $200-million weapons package to Ukraine, shipments of small arms and ammunition aside.
Even if the pullback did occur, Putin still has plenty of forces deployed near Ukraine, so the crisis continues.
Two of the various recent proposals aimed at preventing an armed confrontation between Russia and Ukraine stand out, even though neither will resolve the crisis.
Read the full article in The Los Angeles Times.