A more specific question is: If any western nation put boots on the ground in the Ukraine; would Russia continue to arm rebels knowing they would likely conflict with non-Ukraine forces?

The Ukraine rebels have released a statement claiming they want to muster over 100,000 troops. The Ukrainian government has had a difficult time against the rebels and has tried using diplomatic approaches multiple times.

Germany and many other western nations do not want to militarily intervene but there have been recent announcements that the US is considering arming Ukraine with some weaponry. If the US could convince its NATO partners to intervene in Ukraine with overwhelming force what would the Russian "volunteers" do in this situation?

Would Russia be forced to pull out or would there be a preference to remain as to not also lose Crimea?

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    Interesting thing is most west observers admit that Russia acting rationally - not necessary justify its goal. However internal situation in Russia is quickly going to the point of stating that US and other western countries are enemies. Growing militarism - that's real threat. You may have to deal with new people in Kremlin - military coup scenario. Or you may have to deal with situation shown the movie 'Dr. Stranglelove': mad commander of strategic forces. More involvement of US and EU will only aggravate the situation. Only solution: break up Ukraine
    – lowtech
    Feb 4, 2015 at 0:35
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    I agree - the breakup of Ukraine does look like the only option that could remedy the situation with the least amount of bloodshed.
    – Matt
    Feb 4, 2015 at 15:13
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    Any answer would be pure speculation. Feb 4, 2015 at 21:34
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    @MartinSchröder - I agree. I penned an answer, but it was more befitting the WorldBuilding Stack Exchange, as is the question, so I never posted it. Feb 6, 2015 at 10:29


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