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Do not be distracted by Russia’s announcement on Sunday of a troop withdrawal from the Ukrainian border. It may appear that Moscow is signaling, ahead of the just announced U.S.-Russia talks early next year, that it favors a diplomatic approach to resolving the current standoff with the U.S. and NATO over Ukraine. But in all likelihood it is just a ruse.
There’s a more than 50% chance that Putin will attack Ukraine in the coming weeks, regardless of the outcome of another round talks between Moscow and Washington planned for January 10 through 13.
Removing 10,000 troops from the region is more likely a redeployment rather than an actual withdrawal and does little to downgrade Russia’s battle-ready status. Putin has amassed up to 175,000 troops and a formidable arsenal of combat hardware in the area. By dialing up and down the war rhetoric and varying the force posture, Putin seeks to confuse Washington about his intentions in order to achieve tactical surprise when he launches his assault.
The evidence Putin is about to act is overwhelming.
Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses