On March 16th, Russia will hold a referendum that will without a doubt request Russia to annex them and protect them from imaginary Ukrainian fascists. At that point, Russia's parliament will annex Crimea and the Russian army will move from their positions in and around Crimea to fully take over the peninsula.
The Ukrainian army has not even deployed in response to Russia's subliminal invasion:
Ukrainian troops are performing training exercises in their bases but there are no plans to send them to Crimea, Interfax news agency quoted acting Defence Minister Ihor Tenyukh as saying. Ukraine's military, with 130,000 troops, would be no match for Russia's. So far Kiev has held back from any action that might provoke a response.
The military number cited would be about half air force and navy. Then there are interior ministry troops and border guards that number in the tens of thousands. Those are light infantry at best.
I remain a mixture of outraged and perplexed that our pundits and press keep lauding Ukraine's admirable restraint in the face of an invasion and near-takeover of part of their territory, as if that invasion doesn't count because Russia denies invading Crimea!
To be fair to the Ukrainians, the may not be able to move far from their bases without more preparation.
But until they are ready to move, their army remains ill-deployed to confront Russia.
The Russians really don't have much, with perhaps 2 parachute regiments in Sevastopol to reinforce the naval infantry regiment there. Plus Russia has moved in what appears to be a motorized infantry regiment of their Interior Ministry with at least the lead battalion at Semferopol's military airfield and the rest back at Kerch or points in between.
Other than that, the Russians rely on perhaps 11,000 local militias bolstered by Russian special forces and mercenaries without Russian uniform patches to identify them as Russian in order to besiege Ukrainian non-army troops in their bases and to control the key transportation and political objectives.
So I do not assume Ukraine is no match for Russia in a fight for Crimea. And I don't think Russia has enough troops to attempt to occupy all of Ukraine. There is a chance that Russia could pretend to rescue ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine. But the way things are going, if Russia annexes Crimea it may look too much like a 19th century land grab for Russia to have much sympathy in even the east.
Ukraine's main units are not well positioned to deal with a Crimea crisis. They have an airmobile brigade separate from their three corps (which seem more like divisions) that could be moved by helicopter that is reasonably nearby. And probably a tank brigade in 6th Corps that is fairly close (see this post for units and a link to a map to see deployments in more detail).
For the most part, 6th Corps is needed to screen the east. And with few troops to spare, 8th Corps is needed to guard Kiev and the northeast.
Only 13th Corps has few defensive duties, but it has to move a long way to Crimea.
Although it could take Transdniester from the small Russian garrison (or has Russia reinforced that enclave?) to create a bargaining chip with Russia.
It is good that the Ukrainians are training on their bases. But in 8 days, it may no longer matter unless the Ukrainians are truly prepared to ignore our praise for their restraint and make a military effort to drive into Crimea to reverse the formal annexation and emergence of the Russian armed forces from the shadows.