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Ukraine war

Vladimir Putin crosses 'red line' with his Ukraine obsession

Russian leader takes big gamble as next few days crucial

Russian President Vladimir Putin has recognized the independence of two breakaway regions of Ukraine.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Russian President Vladimir Putin took a big gamble on Monday with his decision to recognize the independence of two pro-Moscow regions in Eastern Ukraine and dispatch troops to them. There is no guarantee that he will win.

As Monday's decision made Russia's confrontation with Western countries more likely, the next key factor is how Moscow plans to deploy its troops -- more than 100,000 -- near the Ukraine border.

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