Friday, August 29, 2014

Putin Keeps Pushing West Over Ukraine

Russia Seems Certain It Is More Determined In Its Goals Than U.S., Europe

By Gregory L. White and Alan Cullison, WSJ
Updated Aug. 28, 2014 5:46 p.m. ET

MOSCOW—Steadily ratcheting up Moscow's intervention in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin seems to be betting that keeping that former Soviet republic in Russia's sphere of influence is much more important to Moscow than pulling Kiev westward is to the U.S. and its European allies.

But while the U.S. and Europe have ruled out any direct military intervention to defend Ukraine, Moscow's moves this week to send hundreds of its own troops there to fight alongside pro-Russia separatists represent a risky new escalation.

"Putin is behaving more and more unpredictably," said Boris Makarenko of the Center for Political Technologies, a Moscow political consultancy. "What was impossible to imagine even as a nightmare scenario just a year ago—Russian and Ukrainian soldiers fighting each other on the battlefield—already appears to be happening."

Moscow denies that any of its troops are fighting in Ukraine, with officials saying the handful that Ukrainian forces have captured in recent days were there "by accident."

(More here.)

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