If Putin shows restraint, further sanctions might be avoided. He is ostensibly honoring the results of the elections in Ukraine. He has also issued a few encouraging statements. The Wall Street Journal quotes him as saying, “I hope that this [what occurred in Crimea] will never and under any circumstances happen again anywhere else.” He also said, “I would not like to think this is the start of a new Cold War. It is in no one’s interest, and I think it will not happen.” In talks with Merkel and Hollande, he agreed to expeditiously consider the question of gas deliveries to Ukraine.
On the other hand, Putin’s words suggest he sees the annexation of Crimea as a fait accompli. Regarding this, Moscow and Kiev will hopefully be able to come to some sort of agreement. Of course, the problem is that things already seem to be outside of Putin’s hands. The separatists might not lay down their arms just because he tells them to.