Why Putin Wants Ukraine

A deranged Vladimir Putin has plunged the world into it’s most dangerous crisis since 1939 — threatening nuclear war upon any who come to aid Ukraine during his unwarranted invasion. His lies about the reasons blur the truth: He feared Ukraine would join NATO to protect them from his ultimate objective: reconstructing the former Soviet Union. And the Russian dictator also knows Ukraine is a rich prize.

Ukraine is located between Russia and NATO countries Poland, Hungary, Romania & Slovakia. It’s well-educated population of 44 million people and it’s natural and agricultural resources make it a prosperous country.

A social media post circulated widely recently listed Ukraine’s natural resources. Snopes investigated each of the claims. Below are those claims that the independent, apolitical researcher was able to confirm. Included are links to the substantiating sources. 

✅ True. “1st in Europe in proven recoverable reserves of uranium ores.” Data from 2018 that were published in 2020 showed that Ukraine was seventh in the world for recoverable reserves of uranium ores and in first place for Europe. (Source: Statista.com)

✅ True. “2nd place in Europe and 10th place in the world in terms of titanium ore reserves.” According to information from 2021, Norway was the only European country with more titanium ore reserves. (Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Page T11, Exhibit C)

✅ True. “2nd place in the world in terms of explored reserves of manganese ores (2.3 billion tons, or 12% of the world’s reserves).” The website ukrainetrek.com backs up this data. (Sources: ukrainetrek.com and USGS)

✅ True. “2nd largest iron ore reserves in the world (30 billion tons).” Data published in 2010 showed that Ukraine was only topped by China in this category. It’s unclear if more recent numbers changed those rankings. (Source: USGS)

✅ True. “2nd place in Europe in terms of mercury ore reserves.” As of 2010, Spain was the only European country that had more mercury ore reserves. (Source: USGS)

✅ True. “3rd place in Europe (13th place in the world) in shale gas reserves (22 trillion cubic meters).” This was correct with the context that it appeared the “22 trillion cubic meters” number was a typo. According to Reuters in 2012, the number was 42 trillion cubic meters. (Source: Reuters)

Ukraine’s Agriculture

✅ True. “1st in Europe in terms of arable land area.” According to the CIA’s World Factbook, 56.1% of Ukraine’s land is arable. Arable land is defined by Merriam-Webster as land being “fit for or used for the growing of crops.” (Source: CIA)

✅ Mostly True. “3rd place in the world by the area of black soil (25% of world’s volume).” While we did not find data that matched these exact numbers, the point being made here was that black soil was abundant in Ukraine. In 2014, the FAO Investment Centre published a report on worldbank.org that mentioned more data:

Ukraine is renowned as the breadbasket of Europe thanks to its black soils (“Chernozem” black because of the high organic matter content) which offer exceptional agronomic conditions. One-third of the worldwide stock of the fertile black soils, which cover more than half of Ukraine’s arable land, a large variety of climatic zones, and favourable temperature and moisture regimes, offers attractive conditions for the production of a large range of crops including cereals and oilseeds. Ukraine’s proximity to large and growing neighbouring markets – the Russian Federation and the European Union – and access to deep sea ports at the Black Sea, provide direct access to world markets, especially large grain importers in the Middle East and North Africa. (Source: worldbank.org)

✅ True. “1st place in the world in exports of sunflower and sunflower oil.” This data came from 2019. (Source: The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC))

✅ True. “5th place in the world in bee production (75,000 tons).” The website NationMaster.com showed that this was true. (Source: NationMaster.com)

✅ True. “Ukraine can meet the food needs of 600 million people.” This statistic appeared to come from Kyiv Post. (Source: Kyiv Post)

✅ True. “2nd in Europe and 4th largest natural gas pipeline system in the world (142.5 billion cubic meters of gas throughput capacity in the EU).” A 2007 report from the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies said: “Roughly 20% of Europe’s gas passes through Ukraine and the country has the third-largest gas production and the fourth-largest gas market in Europe.” As for the number included in the parentheses, we found that it had been published by TASS, the Russian News Agency. (Oxford Institute and TASS)

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