Putin got just what he wanted from his phone call with Biden

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Why are Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden now regular phone buddies?

Putin initiated their Thursday call, the latest step in his new political and military offensive designed to break the stalemate in Moscow’s almost-eight-year war against Ukraine. Moscow “annexed” Crimea and began a not-quite-covert hybrid war in Ukraine’s east to coerce Kiev to back off its Western-oriented foreign policy, in particular its quest to join NATO and the European Union. But the Kremlin is no closer to its goals today than it was in April 2014, when it launched the war in Donbas.

So Putin decided to up the ante by placing more than 100,000 well-equipped troops on or near his border with Ukraine and threatening military action if Ukraine were to join NATO or even host a NATO base or advanced NATO-supplied weapons systems. The point is to intimidate Kiev into making…

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