Putin would be less likely to annex the Crimean peninsula outright, but could wind up propping up a client "independent" Crimea that he could have influence in. Russia won't want to lose its Black Sea Fleet base in Sevastopol. Others are calling for keeping the Crimea in Ukraine, but it may not affect Putin's thinking.
As crisis in #Ukraine deteriorates, US and all nations must support the territorial integrity of #Ukraine, including #Crimea
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) February 20, 2014
Crimea & other areas under Russian influence will distance from Kiev. Putin will in turn embrace "to protect them." Ukrainian Anschluss.
— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) February 20, 2014
See the pro-Russia protests:
The Russian majority may support an annexation or declaration of independence, but the region's Ukrainians and Tatars certainly would not.