How Putin Came Out On Top in Ukraine Ceasefire Deal

TIME

Despite his famous tendency to keep people waiting, Vladimir Putin arrived early on Wednesday at the latest round of negotiations to end the war in eastern Ukraine, and on Thursday he was also the first to emerge when they were over, looking pale and tired but, on the whole, rather satisfied with himself. “It was not the best night of my life,” the Russian president remarked with a smirk when he appeared before the news cameras in the capital of Belarus. “But the morning is good.”

For him it certainly was. Unlike his Ukrainian counterpart in these negotiations, Putin risked little going into these talks and even less coming out of them. The terms of the ceasefire agreement announced on Thursday were vague enough to seem meaningless on many of the key points of contention—even the central question of whether Russian troops are fighting in Ukraine or not was left…

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