Amid all the fear and guesswork this month over the possibility that President Vladimir Putin could soon order an attack on Ukraine, one man has been conspicuously silent: Putin.

In November and December, Putin spoke out about Ukraine repeatedly, pairing Russia’s ominous military buildup with threatening rhetoric. At an end-of-the-year news conference Dec. 23, Putin warned that Russia needed "guarantees” that Ukraine would never join the NATO alliance "right away, right now.”

That news conference, more than a month ago, was the last time that Putin spoke publicly about the current crisis over Ukraine or about Russia’s demands that NATO roll back its presence in Eastern Europe. He has remained silent about it even as Russian and U.S. diplomats sparred in Geneva, Ukraine received Western weapons deliveries and President Joe Biden predicted Putin would mount an invasion.