Moscow will halt military steps in Ukraine – only after a US guarantee not to post missile shield there

Russian troops in Crimea region

Russian troops in Crimea region

As Washington and the Europeans – and especially the UK – continue to decry Russian military aggression, the US and Russians have quietly entered into intense negotiations on a compromise for resolving their dispute over Ukraine, DEBKAfile’s Washington and Moscow sources report.

Moscow insists on keeping in place the military forces which took control of Crimea over the weekend, but is ready to discuss terms for restraining the Russian army from advancing into the Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine.

The exchanges between the two powers are going through Berlin. The German government is making every effort to dispel the winds of war coming in from the east. Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Vladimir Putin conferred Sunday night by phone and decided to talk again about ways of promoting the negotiations.

Our sources were unable to confirm that Merkel ever said to President Barack Obama when she reported on the conversation in reference to Putin that “she was not sure he was in touch with reality. He lives in another world.”

Senior official sources reported instead that the chancellor had proposed to Putin that Russian troops be withdrawn in stages from Crimea and their place taken by European Union observers.

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