putinPresident Vladimir Putin faces a decision over Ukraine that is likely to shape his political legacy as well as the future of Russia’s western neighbor, trapped in an East-West battle that has echoes of the Cold War. President Viktor Yanukovich’s loss of power deprives Putin of an ally vital to his hopes of keeping Ukraine, the cradle of Russian civilization, in what he sees as Russia’s orbit. His hopes of building a huge trading bloc, grouping as many former Soviet republics as possible to challenge the economic might of China and the United States, could be in tatters. But making a stand over Ukraine, or getting drawn into a new bidding war with the European Union to win sway over the cash-strapped country, would be risky. More