What does Russia want with Ukraine?

By the time you read this, Russia may have already invaded Ukraine. Or not. Nobody seems to know exactly when and if the Russians will invade Ukraine. What is known for sure is that for months Russia has been building up thousands of troops along its border with Ukraine, as well as other weapons of war.
That you probably already know. We’ve all been hearing it for weeks. What is less clear, however, is understanding what exactly it is Russia wants in Ukraine.
According to mutliple sources (CNN, The Washington Post, The New York Times) Ukraine was a cornerstone of the Soviet Union until it voted overwhelmingly for independence in 1991, a milestone that turned out to be a death knell for the failing superpower. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) pushed eastward, bringing into the fold most of the Eastern European nations that were formerly communist. In 2004 NATO added the former Soviet Baltic republics Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Four years later, it declared its intention to offer membership to Ukraine some day in the distant future. The apparently was too much for Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has indicated he sees NATO’s expansion as an existential threat, and the prospect of Ukraine joining the Western military alliance a “hostile act.” In interviews and speeches, he has emphasized his view that Ukraine is part of Russia, culturally, linguistically and politically. While some of the mostly Russian-speaking population in Ukraine’s east feel the same, a more nationalist, Ukrainian-speaking population in the west has historically supported greater integration with Europe. In an article penned in July 2021, Putin underlined their shared history, describing Russians and Ukrainians as “one people.”
What Putin has made clear is that he views NATO’s eastward expansion as an existential threat to Russia. Perhaps there are other motives to the potential invasion that are unknown to the public. Maybe Russia wants Ukraine’s resources.
We hope there is no conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and we really hope that other countries do not get dragged into any conflict, should one ensue. We would like to see this be resolved diplomatically, and if it can’t be, then the United States should respond with the severe sanctions that have been threatened and reportedly would cripple the Russian economy. President Biden has already said the United States won’t send troops into the fray, but if we can help our allies stand up to Russia with sanctions, we’re all for it.
Hopefully it won’t come to that, and this tension can be dealt with peacefully. It would be besr for all involved.

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