But the war for Ukraine won’t be decided in Sevastopol. It will be fought and won in Kyiv without a shot being fired.
One of the objectives of Putin’s invasion of Crimea is to destabilize the Ukrainian economy, which is teetering on the brink of default. His rationale is that if Ukraine’s economy collapses while its new pro-Western government holds power, Ukrainian citizens will become convinced that the country’s future lies with Russia. After all, retirees always got their pensions on time during Victor Yanukovich’s presidency. Further, although the United States and European Union have already pledged $16 billion in loans and grants to bailout the Ukrainian economy, the U.S., EU, and IMF are unlikely to give the additional $19 billion in aid necessary to keep Ukraine’s economy afloat over the next two years if the country’s territorial integrity cannot be ensured.
The more chaos in Ukraine, the further it is from signing an Association Agreement with the EU, which Putin sees as the first step towards EU and NATO accession.