A piece in the Telegraph stated that it may be better for Ukraine to agree to a partition on diplomatic terms rather than face a Russian lead military occupation. While I disagree with this stance the article does make the crititical argument that post-soviet Ukraine politics have been marked by the failure of East and West Ukraine to unite the country in a meaningful way.
Russia’s show of force however has a larger implication–one that speaks to the central issue which is not what pieces of land belong to Ukraine or Russia but that borders shouldn’t be changed by a show of force. Crimea’s current status is the result of a Russian invasion a quarter of millennium ago and a arbitrary reassignment of the region from the Russia SSR to the Ukraine SSR in 1954.
Unless these borders are re-drawn via mutual consent of the parties involved as was the case with Czechoslovakia, the larger parties should stay out.
There is the possibility that this is something that Putin has in mind, but this is unlikely. Putin is the anti-Yelstin and the anti-Gorbachev and amicable divorces rarely being with a show of force.