No, Putin isn't ruler of the Ukraine, any more than the US President is the ruler of Iraq, or Lebanon, or Israel, or Afghanistan. Yet, when "US interests" are threatened anywhere in the world, our troops are ready to go. Note that it doesn't require that any US troops or citizens be threatened, merely "US interests".
Should Russia be any less timid in world affairs, than the US is? Russia had a sort of "agreement" regarding the naval bases in Crimea. Not so different from our own "agreement" regarding a certain naval base in Guantanamo. If a palace coup threatened our possession of Gitmo - what would be our reaction, do you think? Would it have been any different than Moscow's reaction to the threat of the loss of Crimea?
Russia had MORE justification in Crimea than we would have in Gitmo, because the population of the surrounding area is more than half ethnic Russian. In Gitmo, all of the population is ethnic Cuban - few if any of whom are US citizens or former citizens.
The issues in Donetsk and Luhansk are a bit more complicated than they were in Crimea. The population is less ethnic Russian than it is in Crimea. But, still - there IS an ethnic population - one which Porko-chenko is prepared to run roughshod over. We put a puppet in charge of Kiev, and he is behaving badly. Porko, the misbehaving puppet, sparked this revolution, after all. You can expect that sort of thing when you stage a coup. There are a lot of divided loyalties in the Ukraine, after all. Stage a coup, install a neo-fascist as your puppet, and some of those loyalties to Mother Russia are going to be reawakened.
You're right, Putin isn't the ruler of Ukraine. But, Putin does have obligations that our own government is pretending not to understand. Our government has simply dismissed any Russian claims, and Russian loyalties of the people. In our pursuit of "US interests" we act as if nothing else matters.
I am embarrassed at the arrogant, pompous jackasses running our government, here in the US.
Yes, of course we have backed Putin into a corner, in more ways than one. And, personally, it would please me if Soros and the Koch brothers were to lose their entire fortunes in their little adventurism scheme. All of Wall Street should take a hit on this one.
How are those petty little sanctions working, anyway? Has Wall Street come to understand yet, that Russia can and will feed her people, despite our impotent leadership's saber rattling?