Putin's Staying Put (for Now)

Ukrainian troops' withdrawal from Debaltseve is a clear sign that Russia wants to freeze the conflict

Humblebragging for peace.

Photographer: Sean Gallup

At first glance, the pro-Russian rebels' takeover of the railroad hub of Debaltseve today seems like a blatant violation of the cease-fire agreement reached last week in Minsk. Yet Ukrainian troops' orderly retreat from Debaltseve was the best possible outcome -- and not just for the troops themselves. It's a clear sign that Russian President Vladimir Putin, rather than sending his proxies or his soldiers to advance any further into Ukraine, prefers to freeze the conflict.

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