I have been predicting such a fait accompli, whereby Russia would take-back the Ukraine peninsula, which Nikita Khrushchev gave it in 1957. There is no way that Putin will allow the Western Allies to have access to–or control of–its huge Naval Base, at Sebastopol. Crimea also has a long history with Russia and its language is Russian.
Russia depends upon Ukraine for agricultural products and Ukraine needs Moscow’s gas and oil. Europe and Russia are likewise very dependent upon one another. Now, Europe has more economic flexibility, whereas Russia’s financial markets (stocks down 25% YTD), currency (the Ruble) and its overall economy have already fallen considerably.
Part of vladimir Putin’s strategy, in all his saber-rattling, I believe, is to distract his own People from how bleak things have recently become–and how they will continue to worsen if he isolates Russia further from the World, at large. Even China did not go along with him when he refused to sign the so-called Sunday Agreement, which supposedly was to have ended the political stand-off several weeks ago.
The very minor incursion that 80 Russian soldiers made, barely across the Crimean boarder, was to take control of a pipeline pump station–but it is still on the sand bar which links Crimea to the mainland of Ukraine. So, Putin is merely safeguarding the control of gas to the Crimea and, more importantly, to the warm water home, in Sebastopol, for his Black Sea Fleet.
As I have noted in prior Blog Posts, there should now be an Agreement to draw the respective boarders where they are currently (to include that pump station), and have both sides pledge not to try to lure the Ukraine into either political camp; but, also enable both sides to trade with it freely.
I believe that the U. S. financial markets will weaken further on Monday; however, Wall Street has only barely found Ukraine and Crimea on the Map. My personal opinion is that such a solution will not be drawn-out into a lengthy process. And, hey, John McCain is over there: he’ll shake them up!