By Selva Freigedo – Port Phillip Insider Extra (Australia) –
Russia is the 10th largest export economy in the world. Its top exports are gas and oil. It also exports metals like nickel, palladium and iron. Yet in recent years, Russia has become isolated from the international arena due to economic sanctions.
You probably remember that in February 2014 Ukrainians took the streets to ask for more liberal reforms. The protest ended with the ousting of pro-Russian president elect Victor Yanukovych. The residents of Crimea, a small peninsula south of Ukraine with an ethnic Russian population majority, did not identify with the new interim government.
A month later, Russia launched a military intervention and annexed the territory of Crimea. World leaders considered Russia´s attack unjustified and illegal, which ended up with the EU and the US imposing economic sanctions.
Yet Russia sees it differently.
Russia considers the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) — the organisation Trump recently called obsolete — its major enemy. The reason for this is that after the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1989, many ex-Soviet countries joined NATO. The only exceptions were Belarus and Ukraine. And Ukraine applied for membership in 2014.
Russia has been trying to stop NATO´s expansion into their traditional area of influence. Part of Russia’s motives in annexing Crimea was to delay the process of Ukraine joining NATO.
Vladimir Putin and Obama did not see eye to eye.