Ukraine's struggling economy was shrinking even before the coup in February 2014. It contracted by 15 percent in the last three months of 2014 and is said to have shrank by the same amount in the first quarter of 2015. The hryvnia, Ukraine's currency, lost approximately half of its value in the last six months, while inflation reached 30 percent.
"The [economic] situation is so grave that we should ask whether Ukraine will be able to exist as an independent unitary state," Caselli said in an opinion piece in Il Fatto Quotidiano, an Italian daily newspaper.
The only solution to the crisis for Ukraine would be to gain the support and protection of Russia and Europe, according to Caselli.
"But it can only be done if Ukraine does not join the Western bloc or NATO," the professor emphasized.
"If that does not happen, it would be very hard for Ukraine to maintain its territorial integrity," the professor said, adding that the consequences for Europe would be unpredictable.