This is part of a post I've been working on. I've been waiting for days for Putin to make this plans clear, but, clearly, this is not happening. As such, I'm going forward with the meat and potatoes of the post I was planning:
This map shows the various regions of Ukraine, as defined by me, for the purposes of this post.
1 - Zakarpattia Oblast (County/Province). This Oblast is unique. Some Hungarians and Romanians live here, and this area was part of Czechoslovakia until WW2. It does not behave in patterns that match the rest of Ukraine politically; As such, I'm effectively excluding this Oblast from this discussion.
2 - Lviv Oblast. Core of the "Pro-Europe" and Pro-West sentiment in Ukraine. It is, by far, much more pro-west than any other part of Ukraine.
3 - Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast. Along with its northern neighbor, part of the the Pro-West area of Ukraine.
4 - Ternopil Oblsat. This is the 3rd Pro-West area. While not as fanatical as Lviv, these 3 would likely never want to live under Russian rule. These 3 were all part of Galicia, part of Austria-Hungary, in WW1.
5 - Crimea Oblast. This has been part of Russia since the 2014 annexation.
6 - Donetsk Oblast. Half of this Oblast has been ruled by the Pro-Russian "Donetsk Republic" since 2014.
7 - Luhansk Oblast. Half of this Oblast has been ruled by the Pro-Russian "Luhansk Republic" since 2014.
8 - This area is generally west leaning.
9 - This area generally leans towards Pro-Russian policies.
10 - This area has swing between Pro-Western and Pro-Russian sentiments.
If an honest, free, fair referendum had been held, in 2013, in Crimea, Luhansk, and Donetsk, they may well have voted to join Russia, or, they may not have. The idea would have got at least 40% of the vote, however, in these areas.
If a referendum were held in Lviv, Ternopil, and Ivano-Frankivsk, they likely would vote over 95% to join the EU.
I will continue this post with the actual conclusion once it becomes clear what Putin is trying to do. I apologize for splitting this post in 3, but I can't for the life of me, figure out what Putin is up to.