Putin's Russia is facing:
1) selling pressure on the ruble;
2) outflows of foreign capital;
3) sanctions from many international organizations;
4) potential disruptions of oil and gas supplies to Europe; and
5) the potential of a civil war in the Ukraine.
Of all of these, the risks to the gas supply are most relevant. He is facing the potential for disruption of the pipelines that run through the Ukraine, through shut-offs or sabotage. There is, of course, considerable risk for Europe: a disruption of gas supplies would cause a spike in prices while Europe is still in winter. That would be an unwelcome headwind for a very fragile European recovery.
Meanwhile, money may start to trickle into the Ukraine soon with International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials already there. The U.S. has offered $1 billion in loan guarantees, but they want it used to reduce gas subsidies and they also want cuts in spending. This is exactly what the IMF has been seeking, unsuccessfully, from the Ukraine for years. They cut off more loans in 2011, precisely because the Ukraine government never reduced gas subsidies or cut spending.
For the moment, European stocks, particularly financials, are rebounding, with most bourses up two percent or more. The euro (a reliable barometer of market risk appetite), along with emerging assets.
In the U.S. yesterday's gains in the "flight to safety trades" are all reversing, with the dollar, gold, and Treasuries weaker.
March VIX futures are down, reversing most of yesterday's gains.