Speaker Oleksandr Turchynov told Ukraine’s parliament this morning that Kiev’s troops have closed off the border with Russia, although that announcement may be premature. As part of a broader peace plan, President Petro Poroshenko has announced that he is going to declare a unilateral ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, in the hopes that militants and rebel groups in the region will stop fighting (or in some cases, go home to their native Russia). Those rebel groups, somewhat unsurprisingly, have vowed to keep fighting, even though they feel increasingly abandoned by Putin. It looks, however, as though they haven’t really been abandoned: Several thousand more Russian troops recently joined the horde already at the border.Poroshenko spoke to Putin on Thursday, and the Russian leader claims to support Kiev’s efforts to halt the violence and unrest. As we have previously written, Putin is trying to keep Ukraine unstable, but not so unstable that he has to choose between two painful options: exercising so much force that he incurs broader international sanctions or exercising so little that the pro-Russia rebels are defeated.An optimist would say that the line Putin has to walk has gotten narrower, as the U.S. urges him to respect the ceasefire, threatening further sanctions if he doesn’t. But there aren’t very many reasons to be optimistic about the West’s ability to exert pressure on Putin these days.
Crisis in UkraineUkraine Says Its Troops Closed Off Russian Border
Newer Post France Turns Against Jews, Roma Older Post Can the West Keep Fracking Technology from Russia?