Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is starting to feel the heat of new U.S. sanctions, as Washington is putting some additional bite into its confrontation with Moscow.

At the same time, new sanctions or even a full-out (proxy) confrontation are looming on the horizon, looking at the tensions at the Russian-Ukrainian border. Putin’s reactions are straightforward, threatening asymmetric responses to any Western pressure or military interference in the coming months. 

The still fledgling or outright weak reactions of Western governments, especially in Europe, are received in Russia as a sign of weakness. Even though current US-EU sanctions on Russian institutions and oligarchs are taking their toll, the larger picture hasn’t changed much.

Russia’s military buildup on the eastern Ukrainian border, the unilateral decision to block the Black Sea for international shipping and naval forces, in breach with the Montreux…

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