NEWSWATCH: “Playing With Fire in Ukraine” – New York Times

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

Two years after President Vladimir Putin of Russia annexed Crimea and began destabilizing eastern Ukraine, tensions are rising anew, with news reports suggesting that he may be preparing for yet another military confrontation with the pro-Western government in Kiev. … regardless of his intentions, the provocations, real or feigned, could spin out of control. It is essential for Europe and the United States to keep the sanctions in place and remind … Putin that they will not be lifted until he has helped bring peace to Ukraine. * * * … Does Mr. Putin seriously intend to seize even more territory from a sovereign nation? He revels in unpredictability. He enjoys keeping his adversaries on edge. But it is also true that he went to war with Georgia in 2008 and sent aircraft and troops to intervene in the Syrian war on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad. Even so, Mr. Putin’s economy is a mess, which by itself is reason to wonder whether he would entangle himself in a broader conflict in Ukraine and risk even tougher sanctions, when what he really wants is to get those sanctions lifted.

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