At the end of a week in which the chancellor saw signs of good developments, it is difficult to see any easing in the major geopolitical crisis between Russia and the West.

There are reasonable doubts that Moscow is actually withdrawing troops on a significant scale.

Putin even extends the threatening gestures: This Saturday he wants to personally command an exercise of the strategic armed forces, which is a direct military signal to the West.

And in eastern Ukraine, conflict over the two breakaway territories is escalating again, long seen as a possible pretext for Russian intervention in its neighbor.

Underestimated the West?

Foreign Minister Baerbock spoke at the Munich Security Conference of one of the most dangerous moments.

Indeed, Putin is raising the stakes in his daring gamble for European order, suggesting that despite the celebrity throng of visitors to Moscow, he has yet to get anything worthy of a trophy.

In Munich, US Secretary of State Blinken suggested that the Russian President had underestimated the unity of the West.

That can be a good thing, but it doesn't change the fact that Putin has the escalation dominance militarily.

The West only threatens him with high economic and political costs.

The fact that the Americans are now also trying to deprive him of options for action by publishing secret service material poses a risk to their own credibility and does not make an invasion impossible.

After the Cold War, the Munich Security Conference was a forum where Russia and the West could talk about their differences, even if they mostly remained irreconcilable.

Unfortunately, the diplomacy that the West relies on will not take place this weekend because the Russians have not come.

That's not a good sign either.

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