Russian President Vladimir Putin's press conference on Tuesday was aimed to reassure Western nations and Russia's domestic forces, said University of Tartu Baltic Politics Professor Andres Kasekamp.
Kasekamp told uudised.err.ee that the fact that Putin held the conference, where he said there is yet no need to send additional Russian troops to other parts of Ukraine, is a move on his part to calm the situation.
“It is the first time (since the crisis) he has made a public appearance. Until now he has kept tensions high on purpose,” Kasekamp said.
The ruble's sharp drop on international currency exchanges played a bigger part than pressure from western nations, he said.
“It was a cunning move by Kremlin. They have sacrificed nothing, but may have given false hope and calmed a few people who would have been more positive about Russia in the west,” Kasekamp said, adding Putin seemed very confident in the conference, and is in a position where he wants to be, with plenty of room to maneuver.
Russia is allowed to have up to 20,000 soldiers at the Sevastopol naval base in Crimea, which is leases from Urkraine, and as many as 16,000 troops may have been deployed there by plane.