Recent talks in Geneva between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken regarding the crisis over Ukraine achieved little.

Russia asked for a written response to its demands, which include a halt to NATO enlargement. For now, Russian President Vladimir Putin might be as relieved at the current standstill as the United States and its NATO allies are.

That is because Putin is playing a dangerous game of brinkmanship vis-a-vis Ukraine. True, he has succeeded in calling into question the strength of NATO’s commitment to the country, highlighted its internal divisions and forced the world to pay greater attention to Russian power. And he may yet manage to wring concessions from the U.S. and NATO. But Putin also risks putting himself in the position of having to launch a materially and politically costly invasion of Ukraine.