- It's about natural gas: Russia sells and Europe buys. The Soviet natural gas industry began in Ukraine, and it is still a hub of the trade. Russia wants to control that hub and Europe would like to deny them that control.
- It's also about Russia's centuries-old desire to become a naval power in the Mediterranean.
- And, finally, it's about influence in the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and Central Asia: with Crimea in Russian hands and Syria and Iran Russian allies, Turkey is surrounded.