- shoring up his authoritarian regime, the way despots do
- showing the west the economic power he can wield, particularly over energy supplies
The whole thing is very Russian in its simple complexity.
Any military action by the west would be insanity. You don’t go up against a nuke nation, certainly not one run by Putin. The only beneficiaries of any conflict would be the Halliburtons etc. We the People would see no benefit, and likely won’t notice the difference if nothing happens.
The Ukraine is economically important, but wedged like it is between east and west, is a pawn in a bigger game of influence.
Maybe someday Russia will get another Gorbachev.
It’s bad news, but unfortunately, just another piece of bad news in a global picture of bad news zones.