An Unwinnable War in Ukraine has No Upside for Putin, But Threats have the West Lining up to Listen

Photograph Source: Raphaël Vinot – CC BY 2.0

We may be seeing the high tide and the turn in the Ukraine crisis as some Russian troops return to their bases, though the toing-and-froing of the Russian army is not a good indicator of the Kremlin’s intentions.

“When I sat down at my desk every morning for years,” a retired British diplomat told me, “the first thing I would read were reports of Soviet, and later Russian, military manoeuvres on their borders.” He added that these could cause alarm, but they never turned out to mean very much.

Suddenly, American and British politicians and diplomats are speaking of a faint glimmer of hope of peace, illuminating the dark scene they had been painting only 24 hours earlier when a Russian invasion was being described as imminent. Russian officials are crowing about dispelling the dark cloud of war hysteria and stressing that no invasion had ever been planned.

Patrick Cockburn is the author of War in the Age of Trump (Verso).