Pro-Russia protesters stormed government buildings in eastern Ukraine over the weekend, demanding referendums be held on whether to join Russia.
Demonstrators pelted government buildings with eggs, stones and smoke grenades, while gunmen occupied a security services building in the city of Luhansk.
The unrest comes as the economy lies in tatters after decades of mismanagement and government theft.
Adding fuel to the fire, Russian troops have been amassing on Ukraine's borders for weeks. They're some of the same forces who seized Crimea's Black Sea peninsula.
Michael Hayden, a former director of the CIA and the National Security Agency, said the situation in Crimea gives Russian President Vladimir Putin a leg up on his opponents.
"I think he's gotten what he needs internally, politically, for his image, for his poll ratings," Hayden told "Fox News Sunday."
"Frankly, I think the troops along the border are his table stakes, to keep pressure on the Ukraine, to make, for example, our secretary of state change his travel plans and go back to Europe to meet with Foreign Minister Lavrov," he explained.
"They can take the Ukraine and eastern part of the Ukraine in three to four days. Keeping it is another matter," he added.
Meanwhile, Ukraine's Prime Minster Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Russia is trying to dismember his country by plotting seizures of government buildings in eastern regions.
"Now there remains a radical circle of people, about 1,000 to 1,500 in each region, who speak with a specific Russian accent, who coordinate their actions with special groups from foreign countries, who yesterday caused unrest and went down the road of seizing administrative buildings and destabilizing the situation," he said.
Yatsenyuk said Russia helped orchestrate the occupations to create an excuse for a full-out invasion to punish Ukraine for ousting Moscow-backed President Viktor Yanukovych and for its decision to seek political and economic alliances with the West.
"Data stating that the Russian Federation pulled back their troops from the Ukrainian border is just them pretending that they sort of pulled out their troops," he charged. "In fact, their troops are now 30 kilometers away from the Ukrainian border."
Meanwhile, Russia has been pushing a plan internationally proposing the "federalization" of Ukraine in which regions of the country of 46 million would have broad powers of autonomy.