There are two key questions about the comments from President Putin and his suggestion that Sunday's independence referendum should be postponed. Firstly, does he mean it? He has said this before. Russia has committed itself to a big de-escalation before, in Geneva, just before Easter.
They never followed through, and Nato is already disputing the claim tonight that he is withdrawing his tanks from the border. So this may just be another diplomatic game, trying to keep his opponents off balance, guessing as to his intentions.
But it is also possible that he is getting worried about how bad it's getting in Ukraine. We have heard comparisons with the early days in Bosnia. If that were to happen, it would cost Russia very dear, both in terms of sanctions and the possibility that civil war could spill over into Russia.