How much sway does Putin have over the rebellion in Ukraine? If it’s true that the separatists include mercenaries paid by Russia, Putin obviously has some degree of control. The Obama administration claims that through sanctions we’ve had success influencing Putin’s behavior. I assume the administration is referring to Putin’s decision to withdraw troops from the border. But I’m seeing conflicting reporting about that. A Forbes op-ed by Paul Roderick Gregory notes the following:

the Russian newspaper, Moskovsky Komsomolets, reports today that Russia has decided to leave its troops on the border “in light of the tragic events in Donetsk,” By this, they mean the repelled attack on the airport by Russian mercenaries. In other words, Russia cannot withdraw its troops because of the increased violence that it itself is causing! Talk about chutzpah.


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