The brutal truth about Ukraine from Marc Champion:
Putin had demonstrated that Ukraine’s military simply isn’t capable of standing up to Russian regulars, and that his tanks could indeed roll on to Odessa if he chose to give the order. In return for stopping, though, he expected Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to sue for a political settlement of the conflict, beyond the localized Minsk cease-fire.
Instead, Poroshenko had Ukraine’s parliament rescind a law that had committed the country to military neutrality and announced its formal intention to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. This was a serious misstep that made a return to war all but inevitable. If one thing is clear in this contest, it is that Putin will not — and politically cannot — make peace without some form of public assurance that Ukraine won’t join NATO.
The problem with coming up with a settlement is that we’ve put too much credibility on the line, and too few resources. Our fecklessness combined with Poroshenko’s political recklessness serves only to encourage and enable Putin.