For the last ten years Putin has been backing governments in Kiev full of corrupt clowns who've been robbing the country blind. The latest of which is currently hiding in Russia as of last account.
As you may remember Ukraine's economy is in shambles and they were recently at the doorstep with hat in hand asking for ~15 billion euros which equals something like 70 billion Rubles. After Crimea became part of Russia it didn't take long for minister of finance to start complaining that it was going to take 3 billion dollars for a couple of years just to get the infrastructure fixed in Crimea... what until he gets the bill for the whole of Ukraine.
If Putin is so hot to trot to swallow up Ukraine... by all means... Choke on that chicken bone.
With foreign investors fleeing the Russian economy and taking their investment dollars with them... this is going to turn out to be a hugely expensive proposition for Russia... Right after it just got done spending 50 billion on the Olympics.
Let me tick off a couple more challenges to the Russia economy:
- Aging Russian population
- Europeans moving to ween themselves off of Russian gas
- Massive amounts of brain drain
- Freeze the assets of the entire Duma... Punch Russia right in the Oligarchs
- Sell gas to the Europeans at a cost so low it would price Russia out of the market.
Those are just the first two that come to mind. Though I suspect the first one of those wouldn't be palatable. Possibly just go after everybody in Putin's inner circle.
So in a nutshell... I think we should just let Russia swallow Ukraine whole and then suffer the consequences.