Demonstrating strength and carefully watching how the world reacts
Just like Nazi Germany when they invaded Polony in September 1939, the actions and inactions of the rest of the world will dictate the next steps in Putin’s ambitions. In Russia’s declaration of war, Putin’s stark warning to those tempted to intervene: “consequences will be unlike anything you experienced”.
The expected avalanche of sound-bites already started:
Bureaucrats and peacetime business leaders do not realize how ineffective strong words and sanctions are against the brutality of a warmongering personality like Putin. Sanctions are always a compromise between the harm they cause to third parties and the countries imposing them. Putin’s response to canceling one of the gas pipes was that they would increase prices on whatever flows thru the other. European countries are as worried about the economic impact of the sanctions they threatened to impose as the Russians.
There is no way Ukraine forces can fight the invaders. The Russians will crush them. If Putin gets a grip on Ukraine, it’s a matter of time before he rolls his eyes to other Baltic states. But, unfortunately, the world is underestimating his ambitions.