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Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported each morning this week: Monday, 919,697; Tuesday, 922,473.
Officials in Russia and Ukraine on Monday used strategic ambiguity to hint that a diplomatic understanding might still be reached that could in effect reward Moscow’s aggressive anti-NATO-membership posture by nudging wary Ukraine closer to neutrality on the question of one day joining the European alliance.
Russia’s Defense Ministry today announced without details that some forces are pulling back from Ukraine’s border, even as other major military exercises continue (The Washington Post and The Associated Press). Ukraine’s reaction: “We’ll believe when we see.”
The rhetoric coming out of Moscow and Kyiv, including a guarded change in tone, hinted at the potential for de-escalation just days after the White House warned that the Kremlin was ready to invade its outmatched neighbor this week, after which painful sanctions levied by the United States and European partners would be immediate.
The Associated Press: Sliver of hope: Kremlin sees a diplomatic path with Ukraine.
The New York Times: Oil markets on edge as Russia-Ukraine tensions drag on.
In a choreographed presentation meant for public consumption, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov suggested to his boss, Russian President Vladimir Putin, that Russia continue along a diplomatic path to extract security guarantees from the West (Reuters and USA Today). Russia’s defense chief told Putin that military exercises at Ukraine’s borders were coming to an end. “Good,” Putin replied to both men (The New York Times).
In Ukraine on Monday, President Volodymyr Zelensky met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (pictured below) before Scholz’s planned meeting…