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Ukraine is a key part of Putin's plan to regain status as world power, experts say

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Posted at 1:28 PM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-16 16:28:33-05

The situation between Ukraine and Russia is developing quickly, but the tension between the two countries goes back decades.

“Russia and Ukraine have a complicated history, said Alex Hollings, founder of Sandboxx, a social platform and media outlet for military members.

Hollings, a former Marine, has been reporting on the Ukraine crisis closely.

“Now, Russia is effectively threatening to invade Ukraine in exchange for meeting a bunch of security demands that reach much further than Ukraine’s border,” he said.

Russia's list of demands includes the removal of NATO forces and equipment from eastern Europe, no NATO military drills in eastern Europe and banning Ukraine from joining NATO.

"Russia has consistently been getting more and more aggressive with the ultimate aim of effectively regaining their once great Soviet power. Ukraine, they see as vital to that," said Hollings.

“We’ve lived with this incredible stability in Europe for a very long time and I think we’ve taken that for granted,” said Fritz Mayer, the dean of the international studies program at the University of Denver.

He says the biggest impact Americans will see from this situation will be gas prices.

“Western Europe has become quite dependent on Russian natural gas. In retaliation to a Russian invasion, Europe might stop importing natural gas from Russia and that has huge implications for the price of natural gas. Already the flow of natural gas into western Europe has been restricted and prices have risen,” said Mayer.

Russia is also one of the largest exporters of crude oil so if things don’t go well, energy prices could increase even more.