Ready, steady, wait! President Putin is waiting for something, but it’s difficult to see exactly what.

If he does intend to order some form of invasion of Ukraine, he may be waiting for both the weather and the last cogs in the war machine to arrive. If he doesn’t intend to cross the border in force, he may still think there are concessions which can be forced from the West which is divided about how to respond to a revanchist Kremlin.

First the weather. It has been a relatively mild winter so far. The mechanised forces waiting on the border could advance much more quickly if the deep freeze sets in at the end of the month. They would then have up to six weeks before the ground softens again.