17:54 Aug. 18, 2016
Putin's show of force linked to goal of extracting concessions starting with easing of sanctions
In Ukraine's restive east, artillery explosions ring out all night: international monitors there are recording dozens of shell bursts every evening. The ceasefire between Kiev and the Russian-backed separatists is fraying badly.
Signs of a flare-up in fighting began in July and Ukraine and its western allies are observing a more worrying development: a build-up of conventional Russian forces in Crimea and along the countries' shared border.
Russia has positioned military units with thousands of troops to the north in Bryansk, to the east near Rostov, to the south in Crimea and to the west in the separatist Moldovan region of Transnistria. There are signs they are preparing for fighting.