Is Putin withdrawing troops from the border with Ukraine for fear of sanctions, or civil war? Stephen Cohen thinks it’s the latter, and that Putin “is convinced that we are a couple spits from civil war in Ukraine,” which could draw in NATO and Russia. Cohen joined Angela Stent of Georgetown University on PBS NewsHour to debate Putin’s announcements discouraging an upcoming vote for secession by pro-Russian separatists, withdrawing forces from the border and, in a change of stance, conditionally supporting Ukrainian elections in late May. In return, Putin wants the United States to tell Kiev to withdraw forces from Eastern Ukraine. Cohen also highlighted Putin’s announcement that Germany is willing to organize a roundtable, which if true, says Cohen, shows that “the United States seems to be dragging its feet.”

—Simon Davis-Cohen