The Ukraine is a mess and both United States & Russia are equally responsible. U.S. provided support and instigated rioting against a pro Russian but an elected Ukrainian President. This is part of super power supremacy game as under the garb of friendship, U.S. has been trying to encircle Russia by bringing in some of the former Soviet Union component states into Europe & NATO. Also, the plan to install missiles in Poland and overthrowing an elected Government in Ukraine are part of the same game.
Russia on its part has been opportunistic, first grabbing Abkhazia from Georgia, then Crimea from Ukraine. Russia knows what U.S. is trying to do and it is playing its own game in response to U.S. policies.
Europe is stuck in the middle and while U.S. has been trying to strong arm it against Russia, but as their energy needs are largely met by Russia they are not in a position to be too gung ho. Germany alone imports 30% of its energy needs from Russia and if Russia starts to turn off the tap, not only European, but the world economy could collapse. Fortunately, Russia is not that position yet. In about three years, when their new pipelines will be built to China, they may be able to do just that.
Meanwhile, Canada's Harper Government has taken an untenable hardline on Russia. Both Stephen Harper and his rather immature Foreign Minister - John Baird have been posturing aggressively. Getting involved in super power games is a folly as it will harm Canada's interests. By staying neutral, Canada could have played an important role in bringing Russian & Ukrainian leaders to the negotiating table to find a peaceful solution.
By slapping sanctions on Russia, perhaps the Harper Government forgot that Canada exports a fair bit to Russia. The retaliatory sanctions on Canada will cost $500m+ a year to the Canadian farmers and this just the start. If Harper Government keeps its posture, Russia could tighten the screws further. Mr. Harper is jeopardizing Canada's already fragile economy. Also, the failure of this Government to build any oil pipelines to Eastern or Western Canada is placing Canada at a serious disadvantage. Had a pipeline been built to the Eastern shores, we could have replaced Russia as an oil supplier to Europe.
Canada's history shows that by staying neutral, it has contributed a great deal more and helped end conflicts, which is why Canada's stature was so high in the world. Sadly, Mr. Harper lowered Canada's prestige in the world.