Finally, A Rational Action from Russia?
Seriously! Could it be really true that Russian President Vladimir Putin is drawing down Russian troops from Ukraine and that today he will ask the Federation Council to renounce the right it gave him back on March 1 to invade Ukraine? If it is indeed true, then it amounts to a first rational action and decision by the Putin in quite sometime. Moreover, when Russia's upper house grants the expected renouncement today, it should give added restraint to the loose ceasefire declared in Ukraine by Petro Poroshenko's government and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.
But for Putin and Russia, the decision to stand down on Ukraine comes at a crucial time as the West readies more sanctions on Russia for continued meddling in Ukraine. As Putin was making his announcement to withdraw from Ukraine, the fragile Ukraine ceasefire was broken as pro-Russian rebels shot down a Ukraine helicopter with nine on board. If Putin's sway over rebels is still high, some measure of Ukrainian peace should result from Russia's draw down of troops. The strained ceasefire in eastern Ukraine is set to expire on Friday morning, Reuters reported.
In reality, economic concerns flared by Western sanctions are beginning to bite Russia. Putin's economy is contracting quickly. Having grown by an average of seven percent annually in recent years, Russia's rusting industries are forecast to grow its economy by a mere o.6 percent this year. Complaints of contraction from once Russian industry giants like Uralmash, as reported by Reuters, are beginning to take hold over the Russian countryside. The pains of economic slowdown are being felt. In Washington, the AP reports that President Barrack Obama's administration might delay more sanctions on Russian given the positive signs to peace by Moscow.
Earlier this week in a measure designed to save face among his troops who had been standing in ready to raid farther into Ukraine, Putin dispatched many of them to exercises in the Urals. If Putin is indeed sincere about peace in Ukraine and his upper house in Russia rescinds the given Ukraine invasion decree, then much needed stability could seep back into Ukraine giving some comfort to its Western aspiring people.