Putin has demonstrated he has a stronger influence over the rebels than the west has over Ukraine, a few days ago he averted a potential slaughter by calling on the rebels to open a corridor so that surrounded and outnumbered Ukrainian troops could withdraw, sadly I haven't seen any reports of efforts to defuse the situation by the Ukrainian government or the west. The consistent response of Ukraine to military defeats in various towns and cities has been to shell the people they are trying to "liberate" with heavy artillery. Such actions do nothing but kill civilians, destroy infrastructure, and ultimately swell the ranks of the rebels.
I was born in 1959 at the height of the cold war, the enthusiasm of the western media to label Putin as a modern day Hitler is troubling, the fact that a large chunk of western society believes it, is frightening. The village idiot who's running things down here in Oz has been thrusting his chin in the air and sprouting macho bullshit, he's threatened to stop Putin attending the G20 meeting in Brisbane. He does not represent my views, my view is that our government should be supporting the call Putin made in the speech for a "modern" solution to what is essentially a proxy war between the nuclear heavyweights.