Thursday, April 22, 2021

Threat Reduction

According to, Bloomberg claims the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Shoygu has announced its troops will begin pulling back from the Ukraine border, the movement should be completed by May 1.

In a public address on Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy invited his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for talks to resolve the situation.

Western leaders have spoken out about the rising friction between Moscow and Kyiv. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the situation “worryingly tense” in a speech to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg this week.

During his announcement of the troop withdrawal, the Russian defense minister said that the goals of the military operation had been fulfilled.

Whether this was merely a mobilization exercise or mostly a warning to Kiev about what is possible remains unclear. I am tempted to speculate the buildup was intended to start (and influence the outcome of) talks between Ukraine and Russia.

The topic? The status of residents of eastern Ukraine who consider themselves to be Russians. Like Russian speaking minorities in the Baltic Republics, people caught by the breakup of the USSR on the “wrong side” of a border that before 1991 meant little more than the border between Oregon and Idaho.