I asserted that Russian nationalists might not want to add hunks of Ukraine beyond Crimea because these hunks would be harder to digest as they are more diverse, would represent even further drain on the Russian economy, and so on.
How could I get this wrong? Well, actually, I might not be. Creating frozen conflicts to disturb, distract, and undermine neighbors ain't irredentism but is a frequently tactic in the Russian tool box: Abkhazia, Transnistria (opportunistic thanks to principal-agent problems in mid-1990s Russian military), South Ossetia. As far as we can tell, Russia's aims towards Eastern Ukraine is not union/annexation but messing with Ukraine's stability.
Of course, this is cold comfort to Ukraine, but might provide the Baltics with a smidge of relief--that Russia may not be trying to re-create the old borders of Russia/Soviet Union pre-1991. Putin may want to salami slice away at the Baltics, mostly to disrupt NATO, but that is a bit different than Russia borrowing from Saddam Hussein's 1990 strategy of overrunning their territories.
It is up to my readers to figure out if this is an