His goal is to frustrate the elections on the 25th of May. If he succeeds he might get Yanukovych back as president.
He does not necessarily want to occupy (all of) Ukraine. But he needs Ukraine to side with Russia and not with Europe.
If he cannot get the West of Ukraine, the East will suffice.
His short term tactics are: create chaos, weaken and blame the interim government. He has done this by making it impossible for local police and government to function. He succeeded very well in this.
For now his goal is to frustrate the elections.
2.5K Chechens came to #Luhansk Oblast to break up the Prez elections next week. Security forces needed http://t.co/hCRKBpnkO6 |EMPR #Ukraine
— Euromaidan PR (@EuromaidanPR) 18 mei 2014
5 District election commissions seized by #terrorists by now: 2 in #Lugansk oblast & 3 in #Donetsk oblast http://t.co/tjTRolgym9 | EMPR News
— Euromaidan PR (@EuromaidanPR) 19 mei 2014
Why has he not been invading the East Ukraine from the start?
Answer: If he can reach his goals as easy as this, why would he pay a higher price?
Putin's overall long term goals are to create a new World Order with Russia as a much more dominant player and America with a minor role.
He will side with China to do this. China also wants to become a geopolitical player.
Russia's gas deal with China should provide for all the money he needs for his economy to keep running AND therefor to keep the war going.
Russia wants $ 25 billion advance payment for gas from China, no decision yet @InfoResist
But if this deal with China will be cancelled, there is nothing else for Putin left then to stop what he has been doing!
— Ruthen (@RutheniaRus) 19 mei 2014
Chinese answer to "#Crimea is ours" - "#Russia is ours". 10y negotiations on gas agrmnt w/China may end up w/ nothing http://t.co/GVhh3zlSRK
And now China does not even want to build the Kerch bridge!
— Natalia Melnychuk (@pravolivo) 20 mei 2014
#China refuses to build Kerch bridge that could join #Russia with #Crimea http://t.co/ByHS1lnU9y |EMPR #Ukraine pic.twitter.com/NWAW9JeHhA
This means Putin has lost the ally he needed. He is in serious trouble now. Annexing Crimea, without getting Eastern Ukraine will be a huge disaster for him. Without water, electricity, gas and food from Ukraine, Crimea can not exist. Without a bridge, trade and transport cannot be done efficiently.
— Euromaidan PR (@EuromaidanPR) 20 mei 2014
This will turn the tide...
Also see: Did China just Checkmate Russia in Ukraine.
Also see: China plans new Silk Route across Ukraine It explains China's original plans for Crimea with Ukraine and why it might not be interested in building the Kerch bridge.
#China signs deal worth reported $400B to buy #Russian natural gas http://t.co/OQ3R20Px7K @FoxNews
— Breaking News (@moses11211) 21 mei 2014
#RUSSIA GAZPROM CEO SAYS STILL IN TALKS WITH #CHINA ON GETTING ADVANCED PAYMENT FOR PIPELINE INFRASTRUCTURE
Now the BIG QUESTION is: how will this affect the crisis in the Ukraine? Will Putin now have enough confidence to continue his malversations there?
— Thomas Grove (@tggrove) 21 mei 2014
Gas to China will cost a lot to set up, won't bring tax money into budget & won't bring Gazprom a profit! Geopolitics http://t.co/UsUxoxGceY
Big question is: will he be able to get the advanced payment from China? If so, he will have the money to proceed. If not, he will have to maintain a low profile.
— Alec Luhn (@ASLuhn) 21 mei 2014
Disturbing Ukraine's election FAILED. Congratulations for Ukraine. This does not mean trouble is over. More troops flood Ukraine than before. See this article. If everything else fails turning East-Ukraine into something like Transdniester will do, for the time being.