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The Russian president went up to the brink — and then, with the eyes of the world upon him, stepped back from it.

State television images on Friday showed Russian forces that had amassed near Ukraine — sparking fears of an imminent full-scale war in Europe — being loaded onto trains and ships to be pulled back. The same day, imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny announced he was ending his three-week hunger strike because his demands for independent medical care had been, at last, sufficiently met.

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