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Mid-State Expert Says Obama Has Few Choices in Crimea

WASHINGTON (AP) — A mid-state researcher who specializes in the politics of the former Soviet States says President Obama has little hope of thwarting Russian designs on Ukraine.

President Barack Obama is gathering allied leaders for a meeting in Europe next week to discuss further action in response to Russia's involvement in Ukraine.

But Dr. Andrei Karobkov, head of the Russian Studies Department at Middle Tennessee State University says the West actually has few good options.

“Can you gamble dealing with a country that still has 40,000 nuclear war heads? Putin is obviously a very tough customer in this respect so playing games with him is very dangerous.”

Korobkov says if the West is serious about punishing Putin it will have to find a way to disrupt Russia’s primary exports, oil and weapons. But even that approach could prove risky.

“Any heavy sanctions would lead to Putin reorienting Russia from Europe to a further alliance with China.”

Korobkov says Putin may eventually regret getting involving in Ukraine, because there are signs that his annexation of Crimea is stoking the popularity of right wing extremists in Western Ukraine.