That Merkel has gone to Moscow is telling in itself and speaks to the sudden gravity of the situation. The Russian-speaking German chancellor has talked to the German-speaking Putin more than 40 times in the past year as the main western mediator on Ukraine. But until Friday she had never gone to Moscow. Only a few weeks ago she vetoed a summit in Kazakhstan with Putin because she believed there was no point negotiating with someone she no longer trusted.
Putin is demanding that a large tract of eastern Ukraine, taken by force by his separatist proxies in recent weeks, be granted internationally licensed autonomy and that a new frontline be recognised as a basis for a putative ceasefire. Continue reading