Stepping Back From The Brink
by Deacon Blues
Last Thursday, we noted that an opportunity was opened for the West to test Vladimir Putin's desire for a "national dialogue" on the way forward in Ukraine. It appears the European community took that opportunity and gave Putin the chance to support his rhetoric.
Today, Putin gave promising signals. He's told the Europeans that he's pulling back his 40,000 troops from the Ukranian border to their bases, and he's now also telling the pro-Russian separatists he supports to cancel their independence votes this weekend, and instead allow the May 25th Ukrainian election to proceed, an election that Russia was discrediting just last week.
One can speculate as to why this shift took place, whether it was related to economic pressure or the realization that the Ukrainian military wasn't going to be rolled over. Regardless of the reason, now is the time for both sides to do a lot of talking behind the scenes and away from the media while not poking each other in the eye.