It's time we stopped calling the pro-russian speratists in Ukraine rebels or militias, and started calling them what they are, Russian soldiers. There is plenty of reports that they are former Russian para-military and military soldiers with many of the command structure former special forces from the Russian army.
They have battlefield heavy equipments, including armored personnel carriers, tanks, anti-aircraft artillery and missile (shooting down commercial flight MH-17) along with many on-the-ground combat weapons, but from captured Ukrainian inventories and Russian supplies. In conflicts they're often better equiped than the Ukrainian soldiers.
They are an army and supported and backed by Russia and manned with Russians. It's time we called what they are and not gloss it over for political purposes to avoid calling the Russian government out when they are that government who invaded and are occupying another soverign nation at the behest of the Russian government.
And it's time we acknowledge what Putin is after in Ukraine, which is the southest provinces of the country, for the industry and resouces of the region, for the coastal land and seaport, and for the land bridge to Crimea which is effective isolated with the one land bridge controlled by Ukraine, all the rest by ship or ferry.
As with Crimea, this isn't about ethnic or national pride, it's about economics and international politics. That region gives Russia more resources and access of the Black Sea region he wants, and by supporting the forces fighting Ukraine he gains and plans to keep that region in the name of Russia.
It's time we called it what it is and deal with it as any other nation would be treated if they invaded and occupied a neighboring nation. We don't owe the Russia anything and we owe the Ukrainians the right to defend their nation, including Crimea. On that NATO and the EU with the US should decide and act.