Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.
The histories of Russia and Ukraine have been intimately linked for centuries – nowhere more so than on Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, where many ethnic Russians live today.
But how do average Russians view the region? And how does Crimea fit into President Vladimir Putin's broader ambitions?
Atika Shubert sat down with two Russian experts to learn more.
Uilleam Blacker, a Professor in Russian Literature, acknowledged that a large majority of Crimean residents identify as Russian, and even speak the language. But he cautioned that ethnic background doesn't necessarily equate to support for joining Russia.
"Even with the Russian population," Blacker says, "There's no evidence to suggest that there's actually overwhelming support for joining Russia."
Freelance Russian journalist Masha Karp says the Crimean peninsula plays directly into Putin's plans for a resurgent Russia.
"I think this is part of his very powerful rhetoric," Karp says. "Russia is getting off its knees. Part of his propaganda is we are trying to become again a world power."