You may wonder why Ukraine is so critical to Russia and the rest of the world.
It may all boil down to - energy.
This tug of war for control pits Russia's stronghold on energy against everyone else who needs their supply.
You could call it a crude reality.
Oil equals power.
Add in natural gas...and several economies reliant on energy trade, and energy policy becomes foreign policy.
"Europe can certainly hurt the Russian economy by enforcing sanctions and finding other avenues of getting energy resources, the Russians can hurt their economy as well," said Boris Zilberman, with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Zilberman says in the current crisis in the Crimea, natural gas is Russia's most powerful weapon referencing the dependence by European countries on Russia's top natural gas producer - Gazprom.
If these countries or their neighbors stand up to Russia, they could face stiff price hikes on oil and gas, which could badly damage their still struggling economies.
Zilberman says it's yet another example the cold war days are over.
"The Soviet Union was largely cut off from the world economy whereas now we are interdependent on them and them on us."
It's a phenomenon that many experts say has dictated the course of history for decades now and plays a crucial role in where the U.S gets involved militarily and where it simply doesn't think it's worth the fight.
Charlie Ebinger, Director of the Energy Strategic Initiative at the Brookings Institution says it certainly played a role in Iraq and the first Gulf War.
"If Sadaam Hussein had been allowed to overrun Kuwait would he have stopped there or would he have continued onto oil fields in Saudi Arabia and there the world would have been adversely affected," said Ebinger.
At a time when the majority of America's allies have too much to lose by standing up to Russia, they may be forced to bite their tongues and bite the bullet at least for now.
Several top decision makers have suggested having the US send natural gas supplies to European allies.
Even if that idea moves forward it would most likely take several years to have an impact.
Tonight in the Daily Pulse we're wondering: Do you think the US should take action regarding the ongoing issues involving Russia and the Ukraine? Yes or no? Why or why not?