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War, Yes? War, No? The Ukraine Standoff as Diplomatic Mashup

It is getting difficult to tell where events are headed in Ukraine. As a Bloomberg News headline puts it: “Putin Says No Immediate Need to Invade Eastern Ukraine, Leaves Threat Dangling.” Two documents that have surfaced in the past couple days from Russia and the U.S., while by no means definitive, strongly suggest a lack of common ground. Or, as the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs put it in a tweet that didn’t translate gracefully1:

On the one hand is a remarkable U.S. State Department release structured like a BuzzFeed item. Its title is to the point: “PRESIDENT PUTIN’S FICTION: 10 FALSE CLAIMS ABOUT UKRAINE.”