Why is this man smiling? Vladimir Putin’s curious smirk at the Minsk talks

The body language said it all. Petro Poroshenko, grim and exhausted, leaned forward imploringly; Vladimir Putin, benevolent and relaxed, smiled a cryptic smile.

The photographs the marathon talks between the leaders of Ukraine and Russia demonstrated which of the two enemies has most cause for confidence about the deal that emerged in Minsk.

In fairness, Mr Poroshenko did not go like a defenceless lamb into the conference chamber. The last Minsk agreement was negotiated directly between Russia and Ukraine, causing Mr Poroshenko’s youthful and stridently nationalistic prime minister to observe: “They will outplay us: that’s what they expect.” Continue reading