Consider two reader comments left at the Wall Street Journal website. One sees it from the Russian side, one from the West’s.
“NATO has been agitating Russia for decades by trying to get previous Russian states to join and wanting to install antimissile system as close as possible to Russia under the pretext that they are protecting Europe from Iranian missiles.
International access for global trade through Europe and the Mediterranean is paramount for Russia. NATO is trying to isolate Russia from Euro and having to rely on international global trade out of Murmansk and Vladivostok. There will be no alternative for Russia but Crimea and access through Ukraine and Belarus.” — Theodore Beckley
“Medvedev’s insistence that Ukraine immediately pay its natural gas bill is ridiculous in the extreme. Why should Ukraine pay Russia for gas, after Russia stole Crimea from Ukraine?
Crimea has vast oil reserves worth well over a trillion dollars. Moreover, Crimea’s warm water port is of strategic value to Russia. Now it is said that Russia hopes to develop Crimea into a tourist destination, complete with casinos.
For all of that, Russia should provide Ukraine with all of its natural gas needs for the next 100 years.” — Thomas Wyrick