And Putin can do it with the full knowledge that the U.S./Europe will do exactly NOTHING.
(Well, they might not show up for a weekend in June, but this will be old news by then)
You said: “....And Putin can do it with the full knowledge that the U.S./Europe will do exactly NOTHING...”
Yep. What should we do??! Putin is a democratic elect president just as it is the German chancellor Merkel or the US President. Many people in the west might not like him, but we have no reason to declare war on Russia, just because they elected a president that is not our string puppet. Besides - their “invasion” of the Crimea is something quite understandable to me since 58.5 % of the people living there are ethnic Russians. Imagine a area that is inhabited by 58.5 % Americans undergoing such political changes. We would see bazillons of lethernecks and aircraft carriers there. You Americans have a disposition for martial appearances.
Janukowich -like it or not- was the last democratic elect president of the Ukraine. Since the Ukraine is a deeply devided country with two different ethnic groups that hate each other, it is quite logical that there will be winners and loosers in such a gouverment change. BTW I understand the Russians that they do not want to live under Ukrainian regime. The best thing for them would be a divorce. The Czechs and the Slovaks made it, even the Jews and the Arabs are thinking about it. It would be not the end of the world.
Living in the Ukraine I would rather think about the question if the Russkis are willing to give their gas away for free in the future. It could get quite cold next winter...
Best regards from good old central Europe