In talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested the best path to a resolution of the eastern Ukraine conflict would be for Ukraine to withdraw its military from the protester-held provinces and launch a broad national dialogue on reforms.
Ukraine’s government deployed the military there late last month, with orders to “liquidate” the public protests calling for increased autonomy for the eastern, Russian-speaking region around Donetsk.
The White House was quick to condemn the comments, saying any request for another country to withdraw its troops from its own territory is “preposterous.” They did not mention the fact that the White House has made literally the exact same demand of Russia’s troops near Ukraine’s border for weeks now.
Putin’s call for Ukraine to stop the offensive seems, if anything, a way out for Ukraine’s interim government, which conceded yesterday that its troops are “helpless” in retaking the region from the protesters. Ukrainian officials have also talked up keeping troops along the border for what they predict is the imminent start of World War 3, anticipating fights with Russia.