Suppose Russia and Putin decide to continue the proclamation that the "unrest" in Ukraine is mostly vandalism and illegal activities all designed to overthrow the properly elected gubmnt. Will Russia invade the Ukraine?
Who is going to stop them?
- The rioters, with support from the west? They could put up a valiant fight, but they wouldn't be able to hold against a massive Russian invasion.
- Nato? The US? I doubt it. Much of Europe is still dependent on Russia for gas and oil, and the US has no interest in going head-to-head with any major power.
Whether the invasion will actually occur, or how likely it is to occur, is already probably well-known by the CIA and other intelligence groups. They surely have satellite photos of troup and equipment movements. But so what? What are they going to do about it? Take it to the UN? Sure.
Will the Ukraine be like another Hungary or Czechoslovakia? Or will it turn into another puppet war with Russia supporting, arming, and re-arming the eastern, Russian-speaking Ukraine and the west (i.e. the US, primarily) supporting, arming, and re-arming the rebels? I am far from alone in suggesting that Russia might launch an invasion. See this.
Or will the Ukraine split, as I mentioned in my previous post? If so, can the split be done somewhat/comparatively peaceably?
Addendum: For more see the current issue of The Economist.
While politicians in Kiev are scared to mention federalisation because of its separatist undertones, in reality it is already happening. The biggest danger for Ukraine’s integrity is not federalisation, but that Russian interferes and exploits it. That could involve an attempt to annex Crimea, carelessly given to Soviet Ukraine by Nikita Khrushchev in 1954. Over the weekend 20,000 people were out on the streets in Crimea, welcoming back riot police from Kiev as heroes. Russian armoured vehicles have already been spotted around Sevastopol, home to the large Russian naval base.