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Putin Is Running Out of Options on Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and chief of the general staff Valery Gerasimov in Moscow on Feb. 27.

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and chief of the general staff Valery Gerasimov in Moscow on Feb. 27.

Photographer: Alexey Nikolsky/AFP/Getty Images

Two events underlined the challenges Russian President Vladimir Putin now faces over his invasion of Ukraine.

The Russian military’s order late yesterday for troops to retreat from the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson is a major setback on the battlefield. And Putin’s decision not to go to next week’s Group of 20 summit in Indonesia underlines his diminishing diplomatic clout.