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It is being reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin is suggesting that a ceasefire could be reached in Ukraine if an agreement would allow Russia to keep the territories currently controlled by Russian forces, which are estimated to span nearly 18 percent of Ukraine. Most observers believe that the demand is an impossible ask and that there will be no push toward actual negotiations. The news may be viewed by some as a sign that Putin’s desire to continue the war is softening; however, others recognize that the unrealistic claim for victory is probably a ploy to excuse further advancement of Russia’s land grab. Also in the news this week was Russia’s removal of border markers that were in place outside of Estonia, which was another step up of recent threats by Russia to expand its borders into the Baltic states while also provoking Finland.   Even with the latest escalations of the war in Ukraine, including talk about Russia resuming the targeting of grain assets in the Black Sea, Ukraine just had its biggest month for grain exports since the invasion occurred more than two years ago. After Russia’s suspension of the trade deal with Ukraine in July 2023,…

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