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What Putin’s Ukraine Options Look Like

Short of that, Putin could seek to occupy and annex separatist-controlled portions of eastern Ukraine, or seize coastal areas to create a land bridge between Russia and occupied Crimea.
What Putin's Ukraine options look like
Russia President Vladimir Putin confers with defense minister Sergei Shoigu. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty


The Biden administration is framing Russian escalation in Ukraine as almost a foregone conclusion, but the Russians are still at the table and Vladimir Putin may be seeking concessions from the West rather than a military confrontation with Kyiv.

Driving the news: Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who will meet his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Friday in Geneva, contended in a speech Thursday from Berlin that Putin’s intentions are clear: “He’s laying the groundwork for an invasion because he doesn’t believe Ukraine is a sovereign nation.”

  • That followed President Biden’s remark on Wednesday that Putin likely hadn’t made up his mind, but “my guess is he will move in.”
  • The administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

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