Putin the Practical Wants Ukraine Grain
by Brian Czech
Pundits, think tanks, and politicians are asking, “What does Putin want with Ukraine?” If you’re familiar with Ukraine’s flag—especially the bottom half—you’re halfway to the answer.
But let’s start with the conventional wisdom. Yes, Putin wants to pressure the West into preventing Ukraine from joining NATO, thereby keeping the alliance off Russia’s doorstep. Russia’s natural gas transmission to Europe would be a lot more profitable if they didn’t have to pipe the gas through tariff-charging Ukraine,