We have two big developments this morning. The first is that in a televised exchange with his top military leaders, President Putin ordered the country’s strategic nuclear forces on alert in response to Western sanctions and what he called “threatening statements” from leaders in Europe. That means as little and as much you think. It underscores that while the punishing sanctions unveiled yesterday are merited this is nevertheless a spectacularly dangerous international crisis. Not just dangerous in Ukraine but for the whole world. At the same time, Russia and Ukraine have agreed to hold peace talks near the border with Belarus. They are talks without preconditions.
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