...has always been the target, and with it, control of the Black Sea. The Great Game is upon us once again, with the usual players (Anglo-Saxons, Russians, Asians, Arabs, etc.) occupying the chess board.
Its only a couple moves for Russia to take Istanbul and full control of its previous central Asian empire. These are not outrageous goals for a newly competitive Russia, nor are they out of reach for a man who clearly believes history is on his side.
Recall that Moscow is the Third Rome. And I also note this article. It appears as though Putin has chosen his ideological lever. Constantinople (and its significance in the Orthodox church) is the glittering prize just south of Crimea in the Black Sea.
We can assume increased instability in Turkey, backed by Russia. Putin and Russia are in an excellent position. All that is required for Western concession are promises to assist in the organized Fundamentalist Muslim threat...which, conveniently, also exists in Turkey.
The U.S. has sent Destroyers to the region of a class that has little to no capacity to strike ground targets. This speaks volumes to the priority targets amongst the players. Its not Ukraine, but the Black Sea that is in play.