Russian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin’s troops took over Crimea yes­terday, defying Pres­i­dent Obama’s warn­ings to stand down and dra­mat­i­cally raising the stakes in a show­down where the United States has lim­ited mil­i­tary and polit­ical options, experts say.

Some 15,000 Russian troops were in Crimea after the Russian par­lia­ment green­lighted Putin’s request to put boots on the ground — a move the U.S. con­demned, calling for Moscow to with­draw its forces. Russia’s par­lia­ment also rec­om­mended that Moscow recall its ambas­sador from Washington.

There is little more, other than sanc­tions, that the West can do, said Harlow Robinson, a his­tory pro­fessor at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity and an expert on Russia.

The U.S. has very little leverage here,” Robinson said. “We have to deal with Putin in other places like Syria and Iran. You can’t afford to alienate him. … There could be eco­nomic sanc­tions, but mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion is com­pletely out of the ques­tion and would be a huge mistake.”

Read the article at Boston Herald →