Big payoff for Putin from Ukraine border crisis

The massing of Russian troops is a political, rather than a purely military, confrontation, designed by the Russians to test the limits of Western unity. Moscow cannot be displeased by the response.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visiting a military fortification in the country’s Kherson region bordering the Crimean peninsula on Tuesday.PHOTO: REUTERS

It started with a bang but ended with a whimper. Having engineered the biggest and most menacing concentration of troops in the heart of Europe in a decade, Russia has now ordered its soldiers back to their barracks.

So, after a few tense weeks during which security planners in many capitals were seriously briefing their political masters about the likelihood of a European war, everyone can now afford to relax.

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