This is a game between Putin & Obama and in this regard, Obama can't win because he is more concerned about boys, cocaine and smiting Republicans - in that order. Putin has had the weaker hand in all the engagements but he has still managed to win most of the decisive engagements.
Mr. Putin's problem is that he bet on the wrong horse from the jump and he has doubled down on every bad decision he has made. For example, Viktor Yanukovych. The problem is that he bet against the Ukrainian people. Putin will not win against these people. Remember all wars are spiritual struggles and he cannot defeat their spirit.
This video was made a day ago. It has 33,000 views. This video and others like it more effective than his million dollar propaganda studios. These videos impeach his war effort that he absolutely has to maintain to effect his war effort and more importantly stay in power.
If the Balkans are any indication of the morality of the Europeans, like I said this will be a proxy war and as usual, the Ukrainians have Putin in a Mexican stand off. You see the problem with war is that you expose yourself - you reveal your weaknesses unwillingly to your enemies on and off the battlefield. Putin does not want to expose his weaknesses. He wants to bluff. The minute his forces in Rostov, Crimea, in the North and in Belarus cross the border, as soon as his jets begin their first sorties, he will reveal to the world just how strong his forces are. Can he maintain the logistical war effort for a combined arms campaign? He does not want to be exposed like the Chinese when they failed to invade Vietnam.
Then can Putin respond to the cauldron. The cauldron is what the German soldiers called Stalingrad. It is the same strategy the Chechens employed when they won the first Chechen war. The Ukrainians could check the advance - maybe even delay it - but they would be wise to train that National Guard by teaching those MEN how to shoot. An infantryman is only as good as his ability to shoot over and over and over again. They need body armor good helmets and training especially when it comes to fire and manuever - but really what they need is 3 weeks on the range during basic training and one day every week until the Russians eventually come.
If the Russians come, the shedding of blood always disrupts the political calculus of all these things. Whatever happens NATO or the UN may establish a no fly zone in Western Ukraine to train troops and provide infrastructure - that and all the NATO bases along Russia's border will be the flashpoints of a wider conflict.
I don't agree that economics or sanction which have been by all accounts weak will have any effect on Putin at all. Put wants only one thing - the price of gas to keep going up. And in the regard and until we take it away, he has the ball.