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Mr. Putin has made no secret of his desire to see more Russian control of Ukraine. He has succeeded, through a combination of bribes and threats, in forging a closer relationship. The Europeans have been timid, as usual, in standing up to the Russians and the excesses of the Yanukovych regime.

This appeasement is likely to embolden Mr. Putin after the end of the Olympics, when he will no longer feel the same need to play nice with the rest of the world and, most of all, the Europeans.

An increase in violence is likely. This makes increased Russian involvement more likely, which is likely to beget even more violence. The Europeans and the Obama administration will do no more than talk until refugees start flooding into the EU countries, and by then it may well be too late.

Richard W. Rahn is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and chairman of the Institute for Global Economic Growth.