Why is Crimea so important to Russia?

Published by Imperial War Museums


In late February 2014, armed soldiers in uniforms without insignia began to occupy Crimea. Despite their Russian weapons and equipment, Russia denied involvement. Just two months after their appearance, Putin declared Crimea was now part of Russia. It marked the start of the Russo-Ukrainian War. So what led to Putin’s invasion of Crimea in 2014? And why does the Crimean Peninsula continue to be a crucial sticking point in negotiations in 2023? One year on from the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, we talk to Research Fellow Emily Ferris from RUSI about the origins of the Russo-Ukrainian War and how it’s developed over the past nine years, as well as to photojournalist Anastasia Taylor-Lind who was working in Ukraine between 2014 and 2022.

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Why Putin invaded Crimea