Long has Russia been involved on the opposite side of the United States in Syria. He has supported the regime of Bashar Al Assad from the get-go, but it seems that the involvement there is just a distraction from what Russia really wants. Ukraine.Ever since the breakup of the Soviet Union old Soviet players have been trying to re-establish the "great Soviet empire". First, off it wasn't so great standing in lines for beets in -20 degrees, second off what's so great about the country that lost the Cold War? Nothing. Communism still and always will suck. Putin and his FSB (KGB in disguise, under a nicer name) want much of the land they occupied during their "reign" back. Specifically Ukraine.Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko fears that his entire country, not just the Crimea region, is to be forcibly annexed by Russia. That seems about right. Taking control of Ukraine would give Russia almost absolute dominion over the Black Sea. The Black Sea is tactically advantageous for Russia as Putin and his cronies are looking to project power in the Mediterranean Sea, the Middle East, and the Balkans.
If you're looking for a World War 3 scenario, this is a great bet, the illegal invasion of Crimea was just the beginning and if left unchecked Russia will most certainly attempt to annex the entire country of Ukraine. The major question that has yet to be answered is;"What will the West do?"While Russia is a neer pear level adversary, their naval power is extremely poor when compared to the United States. Add in a few European allies and Russia would have a hard time. What if Russia used nukes? Well THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) has been working pretty well, but it can't take out ICBMs, just the short to medium range stuff. So we're not sure how we'll respond.Hopefully, Putin realizes everyone is still somewhat limited by the Mutual Assured Destruction and doesn't put the nuclear option on the table, that'd be bad for just...everyone everywhere.We could be entirely wrong though and he fakes to Ukraine and goes to Syria. Either way, there seems to be no really great outcome for anyone unless Russia just backs down.