PUTIN PUNKS THE WORLD: Russian Troops Leaving Ukraine Border

It’s hard to tell exactly what Russian President Vladimir Putin is hoping to accomplish at any particular time.  His lengthy career in the KGB has instilled in him a sort of nefarious and mischievous air that leaves many in the global community guessing just what his true motivations are at any particular time.

For instance, the massive Russian troop buildup that has been occurring over the last several weeks forced the rest of the world to consider the possibility that Putin could be eyeing an invasion of Ukraine.  The international diplomatic consortiums raised the alarm, began threatening Moscow, and even deployed troops of their own.

Now, however, it appears as though Russia is scaling back their own deployments, leaving many observers to scratch their heads.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense said Tuesday that some of the forces the country had massed close to its border with Ukraine over the last four months were being pulled back to their bases, but the U.S. and its allies were in no rush to accept the remarks as an indication that Russia is, in fact, deescalating. The buildup of well over 100,000 troops and a significant portion of Russia’s military hardware along Ukraine’s borders has drawn increasingly dire warnings from the United States of a possible imminent invasion.

The Russian government has always maintained the buildup poses no threat to Ukraine and that its troops would return to their bases after carrying out what Moscow insists are just military exercises. But the biggest buildup of ground forces and war machines in Europe since the Cold War has set off alarm bells for months in the West.

Was Putin bluffing all along?  Or, more insidiously, was the Russian leader merely testing the response time of the west?

And, in either case, did the rest of the world find themselves with egg on their face?