The Russian objective in Ukraine is clearly punitive, Russia intends to punish Ukraine and take away all of their access to the Black Sea. Russian troops have stated taking Odessa as their goal.
If Russia intends to take Mariupol and Odessa, it may ruin the Ukraine economy. If they retain Donetsk and Luhansk, a large part of the economic production in East Ukraine will be gone. It does not appear, however, that Russia intends to retain Donetsk and Luhansk, after multiple factories in East Ukraine have been disassembled and shipped to Russia. This has been historical practice for the Soviets, it does not seem to be lost on the Russians.
If Ukraine access to the Black Sea is taken, one of Ukraine’s most valuable means of shipment will be lost. This would be a strategic loss for Ukraine and a major gain for Russia.
If NATO, the EU and the US do not act immediately, at the current rate of advance for the Russians, Odessa may fall in a matter of days.
This is a weakness on which Russia is basing its strategic plans. The US cannot think and act on multiple fronts. Ferguson, MO and ISIS in Iraq are higher priorities. Unless there is a major wakeup call in the White House and Congress, Ukraine is being sacrificed. The US Congress does not return from vacation until September 8th, 2014, which is simply ludicrous.
Mr. President, please take the unprecedented step and recall Congress. Be Presidential.