A number of experts are noting that Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev was not present at tonight's emergency meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in Moscow, nor did he send representatives to the massive display of Russian armed forces, including the simulation of an ICBM launch on the eve of 9 May Victory Day celebrations.
Instead, he met with Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, the second-highest ranking American diplomat and the Obama Administrator's top expert on Russia.
Thus the CSTO has 5 out of 6 of its members in Moscow including Russia.
Conventional wisdom about the CSTO has said that in order for peace-keeping forces to deploy, which number anywhere from 4,000 to 20,000 in various configurations, a member would have to invite them into their country. Ukraine is not a member.
But there is some speculation that Russia -- as Belarus has already done this evening -- could invoke a version of the international mandate of "responsibility to protect" to rescue people they believe under attack, as they perceive them as "their own" as ethnic Russians or Russian-speakers. Moscow has paved the way for such a notion by characterizing the Kiev authorities as "illegitimate" and the government as "non-existent." Furthermore, the Russian-backed separatists in towns in the south and east of Ukraine have appealed for help.