Why does Russia want Ukraine?

Why does Russia want Ukraine?

Reason behind why Putin wants Ukraine

Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has sparked a major security crisis in Europe and a tense standoff between Moscow and the West. But what are the motives behind President Putin's decision to launch a war against his neighbor? Here are some of the main reasons why Putin wants Ukraine, according to experts and analysts.

Ukraine is seen as part of Russia's historical and cultural sphere

One of the reasons why Putin wants Ukraine is that he sees it as part of Russia's historical and cultural sphere, and denies its right to exist as an independent and sovereign nation. Putin has repeatedly referred to Ukraine as "Russian" or "Little Russia", and has claimed that Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, is the "mother of Russian cities".

Putin also views Ukraine as a key component of his vision of restoring a Russian empire, either by direct annexation or by installing puppet regimes. He wants to reestablish Moscow's influence over the former Soviet republics, especially those that border Russia and have large ethnic Russian populations, such as Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Moldova. He also wants to prevent the emergence of a democratic encirclement around Russia, which he sees as a threat to his authoritarian rule.

Ukraine is a strategic prize for Russia's security and economy

Another reason why Putin wants Ukraine is that it is a strategic prize for Russia's security and economy. Ukraine is the largest country in Europe by land area, and shares a 1,200-mile border with Russia. It also has access to the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, which are vital for Russia's naval and energy interests. By controlling Ukraine, Russia would gain a buffer zone against NATO expansion, which Putin considers an existential threat to his regime.

Ukraine is also rich in natural resources, such as coal, iron ore, natural gas, and agricultural land. It has a large industrial base, especially in the defense sector, which used to supply the Soviet military with weapons and equipment. By invading Ukraine, Russia would not only deprive it of its economic potential, but also exploit it for its own benefit.

Ukraine is a symbol of resistance to Russia's aggression

A third reason why Putin wants Ukraine is that it is a symbol of resistance to Russia's aggression and interference in its internal affairs. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine has struggled to maintain its independence and sovereignty from Moscow's pressure and manipulation. In 2004, the Orange Revolution overturned a fraudulent election that favored a pro-Russian candidate, and in 2014, the Euromaidan protests ousted another pro-Russian president who had rejected closer ties with the European Union.

These popular uprisings infuriated Putin, who saw them as Western-backed coups that threatened his grip on power. He responded by annexing Crimea in 2014, and supporting separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, sparking a bloody conflict that has killed more than 14,000 people. By invading Ukraine in 2022, Putin aims to crush its democratic aspirations and aspirations for integration with the West.


Putin's invasion of Ukraine is driven by a combination of historical, strategic, and ideological factors that reflect his ambition to restore Russia's great power status and challenge the Western-led world order. He wants to reclaim Ukraine as part of Russia's sphere of influence, secure its strategic and economic assets, and punish it for its defiance of his authority. His actions pose a serious threat to regional stability and global security, and require a strong and coordinated response from the international community.


(1) What does Putin want in Ukraine? The conflict explained | CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/24/europe/ukraine-russia-conflict-explainer-2-cmd-intl/index.html.
(2) Why Did Russia Invade Ukraine? Experts Explain Putin Motives, Politics. https://www.businessinsider.com/why-did-russia-invade-ukraine-putin-politics-motive-2023-6.
(3) Why does Russia want Ukraine? : News Center - University of Rochester. https://www.rochester.edu/newscenter/putin-russia-invading-ukraine-explained-512642/.
(4) What Putin wants in the Ukraine standoff — and how he could get it. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/putin-russia-ukraine-invasion-nato-biden-rcna13245.
(5) Why Putin wants to invade Ukraine and what that means for the U.S .... https://www.inquirer.com/opinion/putin-ukraine-independence-invasion-history-nato-20220222.html.
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