Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Cashing In His Chips?

Given that Russia denies it has militarily intervened in Ukraine at all (Lord knows how Crimea ended up in Russia!), I'm not sure what significance this measure has:

President Vladimir Putin asked Russia's upper house on Tuesday to revoke the right it had granted him to order a military intervention in Ukraine in defence of Russian-speakers there.

It could be that Russia has decided that they threatened eastern Ukraine long enough to get the short attention span leaders of the West to overlook that small matter in their relief to not have to react to another takeover.

Or maybe sending gunmen, tanks, and anti-aircraft missiles to secessionist forces doesn't count and Putin is just going to go that route.

UPDATE: Putin has not changed his objective:

President Putin asked parliament to rescind a May 1st authorization for Russia to occupy and annex the eastern Ukraine Donbas region. This was seen as a good-will gesture towards Ukraine and the West. NATO intelligence does not see this as Russia giving up on annexing Donbas, but simply seeking to defuse the Western anger and threats of more economic sanctions. NATO nations are continuing to impose sanctions against individual Russian officials and threatening wider sanctions if Russia does not back off on its efforts to take territory from its neighbors. Intel efforts are still detecting Russia supplying weapons and other military equipment to some of the rebel factions. That also spotlights another problem for Russia; the disunity among the Donbas rebels. Russia needs to deal with this before they can muster sufficient force in Donbas to drive out Ukrainian security forces. At that point the annexation process can proceed as it did in Crimea.

The question is, will NATO pretend Putin has stood down?