How Crimea Hurts Russia
Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, slowly but surely NATO added members in Eastern Europe. Likewise, the European Union opened up its doors to its eastern neighbors formerly in Moscow’s orbit. Russia saw this as a threat, and upon the downfall of Viktor Yanukovych, Russia saw the loss of Ukraine as something that it could not tolerate. From this perspective, Vladimir Putin likely feels that by seizing Crimea he stopped the expansion of a NATO-backed plan to expand eastwards.