On President Vladimir Putin’s request, Russia’s parliament has made a pretty bold — if only symbolic — move.
It's revoked the resolution approved back in March that allows for Russia to intervene militarily in Ukraine. (Via Euronews)
The Kremlin says the reversal is aimed at "normalizing" the situation in eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian rebels have been fighting Ukrainian security forces for months. (Via ITN)
Separatist rebels recently agreed to a week-long cease-fire, but it's already proved ineffective. On Tuesday, pro-Russian rebels shot down a Ukrainian army helicopter, killing nine. (Via CNN)
The U.S. and its European allies accuse Russia of orchestrating this unrest and providing the rebels with heavy weaponry — charges Russia denies. (Via RT)
Further heightening tensions — NATO has again reported seeing a buildup of Russian troops near Ukraine's border — despite assurances from Moscow it has no plans to invade. (Via The Washington Post)
Russia's decision to remove the threat of military force was welcomed in Kiev, but there are still some mixed messages coming out of Moscow. Like this statement from Putin.
PUTIN: “Canceling the use of force in Ukraine does not mean we'll stop paying attention to what’s going on. We will always defend the rights of ethnic Russians in Ukraine.” (Via BBC)
So, what’s Putin’s endgame here? Most analysts seem to agree Putin needs to at least publicly show support for Kiev's cease-fire and long-term peace plan — or risk further sanctions from the West. (Via Ukraine News One)
The Telegraph called Moscow's move a "goodwill gesture."
Haaretz is a bit more straightforward, asking if it’s a ploy to avoid sanctions.
Symbolic gesture or not, some observers say at least it’s something. (Via World Economic Forum)
“We have to judge him by his actual actions, not just the symbolic gestures, but the gestures matter too. It’s better to have peaceful gestures from the Kremlin, rather than bellicose ones.” (Via Al Jazeera)
The U.S. and its Western allies are reportedly preparing a fresh road of sanctions to levy on Russia's key economic sectors as early as this week.