A very prescient warning on what could turn out to be the biggest threat to the west since the end of the cold war. Putin is playing his cards like the master gambler he is, he is pushing here and there to see what the wests reaction will be.
Look what happened in Georgia and South Ossetia, Putin will not tolerate Ukraine becoming allied to the West and possibly joining NATO. His reaction to such a possibility is what we are now witnessing, and it is from a Russian point of view completely understandable. Putin and the Russians are deeply suspicious of western motives in Ukraine, it was the same with the US over Cuba, look how they reacted to a communist sympathising state on their doorstep, witness the bay of pigs and the Cuban missile crisis.
To Putin our actions over Ukraine are the same, he sees it as more western expansion into a Russian sphere of influence and a now emboldened revitalised Russia will not tolerate this any more. Putin is not Yeltsin, he is a pragmatist but also a gambler, he has gambled that the west will not step in to defend Ukraine and they will certainly not grant NATO membership to a country that could precipitate another European war.
Putin has calculated that he can take the Eastern provinces from Ukraine and we will not stop him, we have imposed sanctions which are hurting Russia but it is the fall in the oil price that is trashing the Russian economy far more than our sanctions. Putin will not back down over this, he is certain that the west are weak and have no stomach for a fight over Ukraine and I think he is right, we are and we don't.
Ukraine will be another frozen conflict, and this suits Putins aims. The question we have to ask is what will we do if he tries the same gambit in one of the old soviet satellite states now allied to the west and members of NATO? Are we ready to fulfil article five of the NATO charter? Namely an attack against one is an attack against all!
If we are not then NATO is finished, if we are...... then the abyss beckons!