The World Awaits Putin’s Word on Ukraine, but on That, He Is Silent
The Russian president appears on camera almost daily, talking about things like cryptocurrency, green energy and the World’s Fair. But not about Ukraine.
“We’re in a suspended state,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Moscow Center. As with all things when it comes to Mr. Putin’s foreign policy, the president’s remarkable silence in a high-stakes drama that revolves around him appeared designed, in part, to keep the West guessing at his intentions.
But right now, it appears that the silence on Ukraine is the signal. Ms. Stanovaya, who has studied Mr. Putin for years, said she saw three possible explanations for the president’s silence. Having laid out his hard-line stance demanding immediate concessions from the West late last year, Mr. Putin may see no point in repeating himself and is leaving the back-and-forth to his diplomats. It could also be that he sees a glimmer of hope for a possible deal and wants to avoid saying anything about it for the moment. Or he may have already decided on a military course of action and has been preparing to implement it while awaiting a formal response. “We will still hear from him,” Ms. Stanovaya said of Mr. Putin.