Continued destabilization or invasion of Ukraine would be disastrous for Russia. Putin must pursue accommodation: http://wapo.st/1rSo8UB
Putin clearly relished the enthusiasm and apparently gave little thought to the larger, longer-term strategic consequences of what he unleashed.
1. He could pursue an accommodation with Ukraine by terminating the assault on its sovereignty and economic well-being. This would require wisdom and persistence from Russia as well as Ukraine and the West. Such an accommodation should involve the termination of Russian efforts to destabilize Ukraine from within, ending any threat of a larger invasion, and some sort of East-West understanding that entails Russia’s tacit acceptance of Ukraine’s prolonged journey toward eventual European Union membership. At the same time, it should be made clear that Ukraine does not seek, and the West does not contemplate, Ukrainian membership in NATO. It is reasonable for Russia to feel uncomfortable about that prospect.
Additionally, it would likewise be made clear that Russia no longer expects Ukraine to become part of the “Eurasian Union,” which is a transparent cover for the recreation of something approximating the former Soviet Union or tsarist empire. This should not preclude, however, a Russian-Ukrainian trade deal, since both countries can benefit from increasingly cooperative trade as well as financial relations.
The international community could reiterate its support for that outcome and the resumption of more normal relations with Russia itself, including the lifting of sanctions.
2. Putin could continue to sponsor a thinly veiled military intervention designed to disrupt life in portions of Ukraine.
3. Putin could invade Ukraine, exploiting Russia’s much larger military potential. Such an action, however, would not only prompt retaliation by the West but also could provoke Ukrainian resistance. If such resistance were sustained and intense, there would be growing pressure on the members of NATO to support the Ukrainians in a variety of forms, making the conflict much costlier to the aggressor.