Russia Massing Military Forces Near Border With Ukraine
MOSCOW — Russia’s Defense Ministry announced new military operations in several regions near the Ukrainian border on Thursday, even as Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany warned the Kremlin to abandon the politics of the 19th and 20th centuries or face diplomatic and economic retaliation from a united Europe.
The operations came as Ukraine’s acting president, Oleksandr V. Turchynov, said in a statement on his official website that he believed Russian forces massed near the border were “ready to intervene in Ukraine at anytime,” and that he hoped diplomatic efforts by Ukraine and sympathetic nations would “stop the aggression.”
I assume that Kiev is safe, but the south-eastern Ukraine has a history (and ethnic composition) not quite as potent as the Crimea, but maybe close enough for Putin's purposes.
If I were to presume to advise Putin, I would tell him that, despite Russia's long and troubling history of scuffles and invasions from France, Germany, Sweden, the Turks no doubt others, Europe is through; they won't be bothering Russia for a century, unless it is under a Crescent flag.
China, on the other hand, has been a useful counterweight to the US but they are still ascending and are clearly a more menacing long-term rival to Russia than either the US or Europe. So he should choose wisely amongst his possible allies.
However, that is all very long term. Right now, in choosing among his long term goals Putin is reacting to weakness and deferring to strength, so here we are.