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WSU political science professor comments in USA Today article about Ukraine crisis

March 2, 2014

Russian troops consolidated their hold on Ukraine's Crimean peninsula as the United States and others denounced the military movement, deepening the East-West standoff over the future of Ukraine. Russia risks getting sucked into a quagmire if Moscow attempts to expand further into Ukraine, analysts said. Russia has a large army, but much of it consists of poorly trained conscripts. Its forces could probably overrun Ukraine's military, which consists of about 130,000 troops, but trying to occupy large portions of Ukraine would be costly and difficult. Analysts believe Russian President Vladimir Putin is weighing these practical considerations as much as the international response as he decides his next step. "Putin is pushing the boundaries," said Alisa Moldavanova, a political science professor at Wayne State University who has researched Ukrainian security issues. "He is trying to see how far he can go." A more practical strategy for Russia would be to keep Ukraine weak by pushing for Crimea's independence and encouraging a movement within Ukraine to create a semi-autonomous region in the east. "If anything they might push for the federalization of Ukraine," Moldavanova said.