BBC: Putin’s complex game in Ukraine

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What is President Putin up to?

Roll back to late March: President Putin had annexed Crimea while denying Russian troops were involved.

He had put tens of thousands of Russian troops on high alert near Ukraine’s border. He was insisting Viktor Yanukovych was still the rightful Ukrainian president even though he had absconded.

He was castigating the new Kiev government as illegitimate and neo-fascist, and rejecting Kiev’s plan for early elections.

And he was warning that if Russian speakers in what he claimed were historically Russian lands in Ukraine were threatened, he might use the authority granted him by the Russian parliament to send his troops in.

His position was one of apparent strength and he was milking the opportunity to demonstrate Russia’s clout.

Three months on the picture looks rather different. President Putin’s position has shifted – so where does he stand now?

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