The proximity to the “Russo-phobic West”, translated into NATO control at its borders, is a concern for Russia, which is aware of the advantage offered by the access to seas and oceans – this is why it is taking actions to break the NATO blockade.
As early as almost two centuries ago, Halford Mackinder stated that if Russia had a strong maritime fleet, its status on the world map would change exponentially in its favor.
Things have not changed much so far, that is why the creation of a strong fleet is vital for Russia to “unchain itself from the pillar of infamy” to which it believes that NATO’s confinement policy has shackled it!
Hence the decision to annex Crimea and the aggressive speeches about the evil and grabby West, delivered by Putin before the invasion of Ukraine – a Russian tsar who cannot tolerate “tight borders”, which do not allow him to implement an “in-depth” defense strategy of the kind Russia adopted against Napoleon and Hitler.
This is why Russia aims to be surrounded by “buffer zones” such as Kaliningrad, Belarus, Ukraine, Transnistria, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, over which it can exert its influence and which will allow access to the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, a “breach” in the encirclement that NATO holds through states like Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, located in the “close vicinity” of the Russian Empire.
For Putin, Ukraine and Georgia were “soft parts” in NATO’s “gird”, which could be turned into “buffer states” by NATO in order to gain total control of Russia. Because, according to Putin and his sycophants, the loss of influence over the states of Central and Eastern Europe, since their accession to NATO, has been a disaster for Russia, as it has lost control over many of the shores of the Ponto-Baltic corridor.
Putin’s solution? The Invasion of Georgia (in 2008) to occupy half of the Georgian Black Sea coast (Abkhazia), the invasion of Ukraine to seize Crimea (2014) and three-quarters of the Ukrainian Black Sea coastline (2022).
Why all this? Because the status of great power cannot be claimed by Russia unless it ensures full access to the free seas.
In this context, it is worth mentioning the position of Vladimir Putin, made public in a speech from March 2014: “We have all the reasons to assume that the infamous containment policy from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries is continuing today. They (NATO and EU) are constantly trying to put us in a corner. But there is a limit to all.”
This is why the separatist regions of eastern and southern Ukraine, the Crimean Peninsula, the Transnistrian separatist territory and the separatist republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are all part of the Russian Federation’s “security belt” around the Black Sea.
Ukraine would be the most significant loss for the Russian Federation! According to Brzezinski, the Russian Federation ceases to be an “Empire” without Ukraine, while together with it automatically becomes one. And in order to achieve this goal, the Russian Federation’s main interest is for Ukraine to lose its access to the Black Sea!