Why Putin Went to War — One Year Later

On Feb. 24, 2022 Vladimir Putin explained his country’s intentions in Ukraine in a televised speech. How has what he said then measured up to today?  Joe Lauria reports. 

It is instructive to compare Russia’s war aims expressed on Feb. 24, 2022 to the state of the conflict today — a year long war of attrition that Russia is slowing winning on the ground.

But what was unleashed a year ago today is far from settled and is fraught with supreme danger for all of humanity.

The West’s economic war, intended to spur Russians to overthrow their government, has failed spectacularly. The ruble did not collapse despite sanctions on the Russian central bank. Nor has the economy. 

Instead an alternative economic, commercial and financial system that excludes the West is rising with China, India and Russia in the lead, and most of Asia, Africa and Latin America taking part. It is the start of the final collapse of Western colonialism. The sanctions instead backfired on the West, especially in Europe. The West is on the outside looking in. 

The information war has failed across the world. Only the United States and Europe, which consider itself “the world,” believe their own “information.” Even The New York Times on Thursday recognized this. 

Washington itself is split between realists who want a diplomatic solution and neoconservatives who keep “doubling down” on supporting Ukraine in the slim hope that it can win on the battlefield, without sparking a direct NATO-Russia war.

There will either be a negotiated settlement in which Ukraine loses territory; a total Russian victory; or a third world war, potentially the final war. 

Here is how Consortium News reported the events of Feb. 24, 2022:

Russia says it has no intentions of controlling Ukraine and its military operation is only to “demilitarize” and “de-Nazify” Ukraine in an action taken after 30 years of the U.S. pushing Russia too far, writes Joe Lauria.

Putin explaining his reasons for going to war. (AP screenshot from YouTube)

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News
Originally published Feb. 24, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a TV address Thursday morning that the goal of Russia’s military operation was not to take control of Ukraine, but to “demilitarize” and “de-Nazify” the country.  Moments after he spoke, explosions were heard in several Ukrainian cities.   

The Russian Defense Ministry said these were “precision” attacks against Ukrainian military installations and that civilians were not being targeted.  It said Ukraine’s air force on the ground and its air defenses had been destroyed.

The Ukrainian government, which declared a state of emergency and broke off diplomatic relations with Russia, said an invasion was underway and that Russia had landed forces at the port city of Odessa, on Ukraine’s Black Sea coast, as well as entering from Belarus in the north.  It said it had killed 50 Russian troops and shot down six Russian fighter jets, which Russia denied.

Putin said one of the operation’s aims was to arrest certain people in Ukraine, likely the neo-Nazis who burned dozens of unarmed people alive in a building in Odessa in 2014. In his speech Monday, Putin said  Moscow knows who they are.  Russia said it aims to destroy neo-Nazi brigades, such as Right Sector and the Azov Battalion. 

Putin said the aim was not to occupy Ukraine, but he gave no indication when Russia might leave. It could be over quickly if Russia’s objectives are met. But war has its own logic and often lays waste to military plans. 

The BBC reported that according to Ukrainian authorities 50 civilians have been killed so far. President Joe Biden is certain how this will turn out.

“President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering,” Biden said Wednesday night. “Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable.”

Diminishing Russia

Biden speaks on Ukraine at White House last Friday. (Ruptly screenshot.)

Biden is to make a televised address on Thursday after he coordinates a response to Russia’s military action in Ukraine with the G7 and NATO. Biden said he will announce a new package of economic sanctions against Russia, in addition to those imposed on Monday, but reiterated that U.S. and NATO forces would not become involved.  According to TASS, Russia’s news agency, the EU said it intends to weaken “Russia’s economic base and the country’s capacity to modernize.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson even hinted at British military involvement. “Our mission is clear,” he said. “Diplomatically, politically, economically and eventually militarily this hideous and barbaric venture of Vladimir Putin must end in failure.” 

In a White House readout after the last phone call between Biden and Putin this month, Biden said Russia would be “diminished” if it invades, a longstanding U.S. goal.

In addition to the sanctions, Russia has faced widespread condemnation from most of the world, expressed at United Nations meetings this week, including an emergency session of the Security Council on Wednesday night.  Several nations spoke in melodramatic tones about the military operation changing global security. Many of those nations supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

On Monday, Putin said he would send Russian “peacekeepers” into Lugansk and Donetsk, which he recognized as states independent from Ukraine.  The West denounced it as an invasion, triggering the first round of sanctions against Russia.  Putin said the Russian troops were sent in to protect ethnic Russians, many of whom have now fled for safety over the border to Russia.

Combat in Donbass

Fierce fighting was reported Thursday along the line of separation between Ukrainian forces and militias from Donetsk and Lugansk. It is not clear to what extent Russian forces are taking part in the Donbass battle and if the aim is to capture all of the two breakaway provinces.

Both had voted for independence from Ukraine in 2014 after a coup overthrew the elected president Viktor Yanukovych.  The new Ukrainian government then launched a war against the provinces to crush their bid for independence, a war that is still going on eight years later at the cost of 14,000 lives.

Neo-Nazi groups, such as Right Sector and the Azov Battalion, who revere the World War II Ukrainian fascist leader Stepan Bandera, took part in the coup as well as in the ongoing war against Lugansk and Donetsk. 

A Matter of ‘Life or Death’ 

The Russian military action follows demands made in December by Russia to the U.S. and NATO in the form of treaty proposals that would require Ukraine and Georgia not to join NATO; U.S. missiles in Poland and Romania to be removed; and NATO deployments to Eastern Europe reversed.  The U.S. and NATO rejected the proposals and instead sent more NATO forces to Eastern Europe and have been heavily arming Ukraine.

In his address on Thursday morning, Putin said the military operation he was launching was a “question of life or death” for Russia, referring to NATO’s expansion east since the late 1990s. He said:

“For the United States and its allies, it is a policy of containing Russia, with obvious geopolitical dividends. For our country, it is a matter of life and death, a matter of our historical future as a nation. This is not an exaggeration; this is a fact. It is not only a very real threat to our interests but to the very existence of our state and to its sovereignty. It is the red line which we have spoken about on numerous occasions. They have crossed it.”

Detailed Explanation of Causes and Aims of Operation

Silets Sokalskyi Lvivska battlefield monument in Ukraine of Soviets soldiers against Nazi invaders. (Viacheslav Galievskyi/Wikimedia Commons)

In his 3,350-word speech, Putin laid out in full detail the reasons he decided to take military action and what he hopes it will achieve. The speech is a devastating critique of U.S. policy toward Russia over the past 30 years, which no doubt will fall on deaf ears in Washington. 

Western media is so far ignoring the speech or superficially dismissing it. But it has to be carefully studied if anyone is interested in understanding why Russia launched this military operation. Just calling Putin “Hitler,” as Nancy Pelosi did Wednesday night, won’t do. 

Hitler in fact features in Putin’s address. For instance, addressing the Ukrainian military, Putin said:

“Your fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers did not fight the Nazi occupiers and did not defend our common Motherland to allow today’s neo-Nazis to seize power in Ukraine. You swore the oath of allegiance to the Ukrainian people and not to the junta, the people’s adversary which is plundering Ukraine and humiliating the Ukrainian people.”

He linked the Nazis’ invasion of Russia to NATO’s threat today, saying this time there would be no appeasement:

“Of course, this situation begs a question: what next, what are we to expect? If history is any guide, we know that in 1940 and early 1941 the Soviet Union went to great lengths to prevent war or at least delay its outbreak. To this end, the USSR sought not to provoke the potential aggressor until the very end by refraining or postponing the most urgent and obvious preparations it had to make to defend itself from an imminent attack. When it finally acted, it was too late.

As a result, the country was not prepared to counter the invasion by Nazi Germany, which attacked our Motherland on June 22, 1941, without declaring war. The country stopped the enemy and went on to defeat it, but this came at a tremendous cost. The attempt to appease the aggressor ahead of the Great Patriotic War proved to be a mistake which came at a high cost for our people. In the first months after the hostilities broke out, we lost vast territories of strategic importance, as well as millions of lives. We will not make this mistake the second time. We have no right to do so.”

Putin said the existential threat from NATO’s expansion was the main reason for military action:  

“Our biggest concerns and worries, [are] the fundamental threats which irresponsible Western politicians created for Russia consistently, rudely and unceremoniously from year to year. I am referring to the eastward expansion of NATO, which is moving its military infrastructure ever closer to the Russian border.

It is a fact that over the past 30 years we have been patiently trying to come to an agreement with the leading NATO countries regarding the principles of equal and indivisible security in Europe. In response to our proposals, we invariably faced either cynical deception and lies or attempts at pressure and blackmail, while the North Atlantic alliance continued to expand despite our protests and concerns. Its military machine is moving and, as I said, is approaching our very border.

Why is this happening? Where did this insolent manner of talking down from the height of their exceptionalism, infallibility and all-permissiveness come from? What is the explanation for this contemptuous and disdainful attitude to our interests and absolutely legitimate demands?”

 Putin called the Americans “con-artists” for lying about NATO expansion. He referred to:

“promises not to expand NATO eastwards even by an inch. To reiterate: they have deceived us, or, to put it simply, they have played us. Sure, one often hears that politics is a dirty business. It could be, but it shouldn’t be as dirty as it is now, not to such an extent. This type of con-artist behaviour is contrary not only to the principles of international relations but also and above all to the generally accepted norms of morality and ethics.”

Putin said Russia had long wanted to cooperate with the West. “Those who aspire to global dominance have publicly designated Russia as their enemy. They did so with impunity. Make no mistake, they had no reason to act this way,” he said.

Cold War Triumphalism & Its Consequences

U.S. soldier conducts search of family’s home in Iraq, 2006. (Navy Journalist 1st Class Jeremy L. Wood)

Putin said the collapse of the Soviet Union had led to a redivision of the world and a change to international law and norms.  New rules were needed but instead of achieving this “professionally, smoothly, patiently, and with due regard and respect for the interests of all states … we saw a state of euphoria created by the feeling of absolute superiority, a kind of modern absolutism coupled with the low cultural standards and arrogance of those who formulated and pushed through decisions that suited only themselves.”

Putin then said this “absolutism,” with the Soviet Union no longer as a barrier, led to unchecked U.S. aggression, starting with NATO’s bombing of Serbia in 1999, the 2003 invasion of Iraq and U.S. involvement in Syria. Russia has been taking note of the destruction Washington has wrought, even as it seems whitewashed from American minds.

“First a bloody military operation was waged against Belgrade, without the UN Security Council’s sanction but with combat aircraft and missiles used in the heart of Europe. The bombing of peaceful cities and vital infrastructure went on for several weeks. I have to recall these facts, because some Western colleagues prefer to forget them, and when we mentioned the event, they prefer to avoid speaking about international law. 

Then came the turn of Iraq, Libya and Syria. The illegal use of military power against Libya and the distortion of all the UN Security Council decisions on Libya ruined the state, created a huge seat of international terrorism, and pushed the country towards a humanitarian catastrophe, into the vortex of a civil war, which has continued there for years. The tragedy, which was created for hundreds of thousands and even millions of people not only in Libya but in the whole region, has led to a large-scale exodus from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe.

A similar fate was also prepared for Syria. The combat operations conducted by the Western coalition in that country without the Syrian government’s approval or UN Security Council’s sanction can only be defined as aggression and intervention.

But the example that stands apart from the above events is, of course, the invasion of Iraq without any legal grounds. They used the pretext of allegedly reliable information available in the United States about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. To prove that allegation, the US Secretary of State held up a vial with white power, publicly, for the whole world to see, assuring the international community that it was a chemical warfare agent created in Iraq.

It later turned out that all of that was a fake and a sham, and that Iraq did not have any chemical weapons. Incredible and shocking but true. We witnessed lies made at the highest state level and voiced from the high UN rostrum. As a result we see a tremendous loss in human life, damage, destruction, and a colossal upsurge of terrorism.

Overall, it appears that nearly everywhere, in many regions of the world where the United States brought its law and order, this created bloody, non-healing wounds and the curse of international terrorism and extremism.”

Putin said over the past days “NATO leadership has been blunt in its statements that they need to accelerate and step up efforts to bring the alliance’s infrastructure closer to Russia’s borders. In other words, they have been toughening their position. We cannot stay idle and passively observe these developments. This would be an absolutely irresponsible thing to do for us.”

Ukraine, he said, had essentially become a de-facto NATO member posing the greatest threat to Russia.

“Any further expansion of the North Atlantic alliance’s infrastructure or the ongoing efforts to gain a military foothold of the Ukrainian territory are unacceptable for us. Of course, the question is not about NATO itself. It merely serves as a tool of US foreign policy. The problem is that in territories adjacent to Russia, which I have to note is our historical land, a hostile “anti-Russia” is taking shape. Fully controlled from the outside, it is doing everything to attract NATO armed forces and obtain cutting-edge weapons.”

A Parting Shot at European Vassals

Putin also blasted America’s European allies for not having the strength of principle or the moral fiber to stand up to Washington. He said:

“The United States is still a great country and a system-forming power. All its satellites not only humbly and obediently say yes to and parrot it at the slightest pretext but also imitate its behaviour and enthusiastically accept the rules it is offering them. Therefore, one can say with good reason and confidence that the whole so-called Western bloc formed by the United States in its own image and likeness is, in its entirety, the very same ’empire of lies.’”

[Read the full text of the speech.] [Kremlin and other Russian government websites are down after apparent cyber attack. The full text of the speech can be found on Bloomberg News here.]

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times.  He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe  

41 comments for “Why Putin Went to War — One Year Later

  1. John Corr
    February 26, 2023 at 21:27

    The real Ukraine story (largely repressed in the Western media: As more facts float to the surface in the Ukraine fiasco, President Biden emerges as a longtime player in a personal adventure. In Kyiv, February 2014, the anti-Russia faction violently deposed a pro-Russia, democratically elected (close victory margin), President, Victor Yanukovych. As Yanukovych was feeling pressure from coup violence, “The White House said Joe Biden, the vice-president, spoke to Viktor Yanukovych on Thursday by telephone and warned him that the US was preparing to sanction officials responsible for the violence”, see hxxps://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/20/ukraine-dead-protesters-police.
    In coup prelude, the German and Polish (Radek Sikorski, husband of career-Russia-critic Anne Applebaum) Foreign Ministers were in Kyiv negotiating with the elected government, aiding the anti-Russia faction. The EU’s foreign policy chief, Lady Catherine Ashton, had already encouraged anti-Yanukovych demonstrators in the Maidan, as had the State Department’s Victoria Nuland, wife of Neocon Robert Kagan. See The 2013-2014 Guardian (UK) online.
    Post coup, the anti-Russia coup repressed the pro-Russian group, see Time magazine, hxxps://time.com/6144109/russia-ukraine-vladimir-putin-viktor-medvedchuk/. Post coup, Vice President Joe Biden, serving as President Obama’s representative for Ukraine, had tried unsuccessfully to persuade Obama into a hard line against Russia in Ukraine, See New York Times, hxxps://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/10/us/politics/joe-biden-ukraine.html, which also states that Biden eventually helped sell Obama on sending about 100 American service members to train Ukraine’s security forces.
    Post coup, the CIA began a secret program training the Ukraine military, ending just before the Russian invasion, according to wxx.aol.com/news/exclusive-secret-cia-training-program-090052594.html. U.S. unprecedented sharing of Russian troop and aircraft movement with Kyiv was behind the Ukrainian resistance to the Russian invasion, see hxxps://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/unprecedented-sharing-of-crucial-intelligence-by-us-prevented-kyivs-capture-by-russia-41595077.html.

  2. Valerie
    February 25, 2023 at 09:00

    For anyone interested, peace rally in Berlin today. Lots of people and the weather looks awful.


  3. CaseyG
    February 24, 2023 at 18:00

    What did Biden’s son do when Trump was still President? Why was Biden’s son in Ukraine and what exactly was he doing? This is all confusing to me—–As Biden’s son appears to suddenly have become an artist—I am confused as to what he was doing in Ukraine. Can anyone untangle this for me?

    • Valerie
      February 25, 2023 at 09:14

      Yes CaseyG, i too would like to understand. But these little intrigues do not warrant my time to research, as i know these people are above the law. It’s only the lesser spotted humans, such as film directors, actors, rock stars and the like who ever see the inside of a jail. But now you’ve piqued my curiosity about the artist bit. And in this bizarre and surreal world, anything seems possible.

      • CaseyG
        February 26, 2023 at 13:56

        Thank you Valerie. : )

    • IJ Scambling
      February 25, 2023 at 13:27

      What exactly he was doing is a good question. He was a non-expert consultant on the board of a Ukraine gas company called Burismas Holdings, making at least 50,000 a month.

      Here’s an interesting comment from a Feb 15 article in Asia Times on the possibility of Ukraine’s trying to take back Crimea:

      “For Russia, Crimea is not negotiable, not when one of its only two warm-water ports is in danger. The Americans know this. Yet Washington refuses to rein in its Ukrainian clients, who are banging the drum to launch a massive attack against Crimea. (It almost makes you wonder if that was the purpose of all the money that President Joe Biden’s son Hunter received while serving as a non-expert in natural gas for a Ukrainian oil company.)”


      • CaseyG
        February 26, 2023 at 14:07

        Hi IJ Scambling:

        The entire Biden scenario seems so peculiar. But then too, Crimea had been part of Russia since Catherine the Great’s time. I also do not understand Mr. Zalenskyy as he does not seem to have the kind of skills needed for running a nation. A strange man who might be taken out by some of the Ukrainians at any time.

        Meanwhile, back at home, so many Americans are homeless and now jobless, and I wonder what is Biden’s purpose, as Americans can see their futures and way of life disappearing rather quickly. This has all the signs of Napoleon’s march to Russia that became a disaster too.

  4. IJ Scambling
    February 24, 2023 at 14:25

    From MoA:

    A year ago on Feb 21 unprecedented, greatly increased attacks on the two provinces of the Donbas led them to appeal to Russia to recognize them as independent states.

    “They both asked to consider the possibility of signing an agreement of friendship and cooperation between Russia and the LPR, including the cooperation in the sphere of defence. “

    Putin responded.

    “The President of Russia signed the Executive Order On the Recognition of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Executive Order On the Recognition of the Lugansk People’s Republic.

    Vladimir Putin and Head of the DPR Denis Pushilin signed a Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between the Russian Federation and the Donetsk People’s Republic.

    The President of Russia and Head of the LPR Leonid Pasechnik signed a Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between the Russian Federation and the Lugansk People’s Republic.”


    From here Russia entered the besieged provinces on Feb 24 2022. The objective was an SMO (special military operation) protective in nature, not the beginning step of sweeping across Europe Hitler style. This latter is brainwashing.

    The operation went slowly, which in turn then drew condemnation by some for going too slowly, and being “soft” and “timid.” The intent was to assist Donbas and de-Nazify the attacks on the East, which the West had somehow, inexplicably and shamefully, aligned themselves with.

    Very little attention has been paid to this latter fact–the West’s aligning itself with the descendants of one of the world’s worst megalomaniacs and psychotics.

    Speaking of who’s right and wrong on this “invasion” we could start here.

  5. shmutzoid
    February 24, 2023 at 14:00

    Under Article 51 of the UN charter, Russia’s ‘Responsibility to Protect’ made their intervention in Ukraine’s civil war legit. Yes, that’s been parsed in ways to claim otherwise, so, that’s just my opinion. There was a marked increase in the killing of Russian-speaking people of Donbas by Ukie neo-Nazis in Feb., 2022. Putin was not eager to invade – he didn’t even recognize the Donbas vote for autonomy for eight years. …….. If not for US/NATO involvement, Russia’s SMO woulda’ been over in mere weeks.

    I hope Russia’s looming offensive will be so overwhelming as to bring about a swift and decisive end to this war, with Zelensky begging for negotiations. This would save more lives than a long and protracted war of attrition, which is preferred by the US/NATO.
    US imperialism must be halted NOW. If the US succeeds in dismantling Russia it’ll be be on to China in no time.
    …………… There is no greater threat to global stability than the US empire. Apart from the US and its client states this is widely accepted as the truth.

    • Bruce Edgar
      February 25, 2023 at 11:44

      When we consider America’s record around the world, I see no way anyone could credibly parse your opinion. The evidence of America’s imperialist perfidy is beyond dispute. Which makes the Blinken’s attempt to pin the tail on the donkey so laughable.

      Your second paragraph is the only short path to resolution. Biden’s advisors (puppeteers) will not relent otherwise.

      Finally, the demise of US hegemony and the emergence of a multi polar world will be welcomed by many. The world will never be perfect, alas, but it will give nations some breathing room while the remaining powers jostle for position during the coming century.

      A related change of topic: I am very eager to see a responsible, in depth, analysis of the self inflicted demise of the Squad, as opportunist Kahana. Certainly the Pelosi legacy–iron clad control and elimination of dissent–will also play a role. But this collapse is so spectacular–and so seriously wrong–its etiology does deserve to be carefully described.

  6. dbtexas
    February 24, 2023 at 13:17

    As an observer from afar, not privy to the inner sanctums where decisions that determine world order, I simply attempt to decipher observable facts. One of the commenters above states that Putin attacked only after the Ukrainians lobbed missiles across the border into Russian territory. So, where are the photos and videos that reveals destroyed apartment complexes, shattered schools, railway stations and hospitals, attacks on infrastructure and bodies of dead Russian civilians lying in the streets? Seems this should be a relatively simple manner to justify the horror we see across Ukraine.

    From my standpoint, it also seemed that Russia, over the last few decades, had achieved some semblance of success as a member of western society – multiple millionaires and billionaires (Putin’s massive wealth was revealed in the Panama Papers) creating an oligarchy equal to any found in Europe or the Americas. Shopping emporiums worthy of anything found on 5th Avenue in New York were frequented by the wealthy elite. Even ordinary citizens seemed to enjoy a more prosperous life.

    The monumental ego of one man tossed all of that aside, evidently in an attempt to renew some glory from the past. Russia has long produced some of the most recognized and lauded artists – music, dance, drama, literature, architecture, etc. Now, a great reduction is occurring, sliding ignobly backward to to a weakened position, undermining years of achievements.


    • Consortiumnews.com
      February 24, 2023 at 14:53

      The Ukrainian attacks on ethnic Russians was in Donbass not on Russian territory. Putin associates but not Putin himself ate mentioned in the Panama Papers.

    • CaseyG
      February 25, 2023 at 14:28

      I think that Putin did well. It’s Biden and Blinken that are so scary and weird. I was hopeful that Biden would improve the things that the weird man Trump changed. Somehow Biden and Blinkem seem as creepy as the past administration, I think that the person who decided to pretend to be savior of the universe is Biden—and he’s not much of a savior even for his own nation. : (

  7. Jan
    February 24, 2023 at 11:58

    Putin does not say it in his speech but it was abundantly clear a year ago that the US neocon establishment had decided that there was going to be a war. This was not just about the eastward expansion of NATO. The provocations were not going to stop.

    • Gerry
      February 24, 2023 at 17:26

      So? On that basis, his actual beef was with NATO (AmeriKKKa’s tool for controlling Europe) and invading Ukraine was akin to kicking a bully’s patsy to the kerb, rather than taking down the bully. The only one getting hurt in that game is the patsy and he’s now seen as the villain whereas the real bully is seen as the good guy. Stupid move by Putin. In this chess game, my money’s on the AmeriKKKan Empire. Ghod, I hate Putin for all of this!

      • Lisa
        February 24, 2023 at 21:24

        Absolutely. It was a dumb move and it doesn’t make sense for someone as smart as Putin to walk into that trap. I sometimes wonder if his hand was forced.

        • Consortiumnews.com
          February 25, 2023 at 00:34

          Except that the West wound up entrapping itself.

      • D.H.Fabian
        February 24, 2023 at 22:02

        Americans dangerously underestimate what the US has been doing, I assume because most know nothing about Ukraine’s history. “Putin” (Russia) held back at the Russian/Ukrainian border as the US poured tens of billions of dollars of weapons (with under 30% for human needs aid) into Ukraine. When those US missiles began crossing the border, hitting Russian-speaking towns, Russia pushed forward into Ukraine. Their goal has consistently been that of destroying Ukraine’s infrastructure at minimal loss of life, to force an end to Zelensky’s war. What Americans aren’t getting is that much of eastern Ukraine is ethnic Russian, and Russia’s goal is the protection of these people, which Zelensky6 clearly wants to eradicate.

    • Bruce Edgaar
      February 25, 2023 at 11:52

      I think it may be time to drop the idea that America’s elective wars are the sole product of the neo-cons. Our own progressives also share the blame. Several Green parties in Europe also are all in for continued arming of Ukraine. So I have read, at least, and would welcome a sensible contradiction if I am in error on this.

  8. David Brown
    February 24, 2023 at 11:45

    The writers should honestly read or listen to Professor Timothy Synder regarding Putin and his intents. Roger Waters is wrong and so is Consortiumnnews regarding the invasion. Simply leaning left isn’t a free out of jail card, and, yes, I’m a leftist.

    • IJ Scambling
      February 24, 2023 at 14:09

      Let’s have some specifics. Some links. Some development of your ideas. This little driblet is not arguing it’s venting. Also, define what you mean by “leftist” versus “fascist.”

  9. February 24, 2023 at 11:27

    1990: German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher: explicit promise German unification would not be followed by NATO’s eastward enlargement. West-European officials promised the Soviets after the fall of the Berlin Wall that NATO’s borders would not move “one inch” eastward.

  10. Tedder
    February 24, 2023 at 10:38

    Apparently, the Washington neocons believe their own rhetoric. This reminds me of stories of Hitler’s dementia and insistence on an alternate reality. The US propaganda machine has spread this poison widely, including to Europe.
    Since the Maidan coup, the Bandera machine in Kyiv, who also seem to believe their rhetoric, over eight years have apparently poisoned the minds of Ukrainian civilians and soldiers.
    A Buddhist precept is, “No selling the wine of delusion.” These fascists have the delusion wine taps wide open.

  11. Cynic
    February 24, 2023 at 10:37

    Putin and Russia’s position is consistent from exactly 1 year ago and the ultimate objectives remains the same. I agree with Mr Putin that USA is the source of most of these troubles and suffering felt by so many people across so many countries in the world and sooner or later they must be stopped. The US led NATO’s political incursion into making Ukraine their vassal is the last straw. I pray that Russia succeeds in its endeavour.

    • Rob Roy
      February 26, 2023 at 05:57

      Cynic, I agree.

  12. Jim Gala
    February 24, 2023 at 10:35

    In addition to all the important factors that Joe Lauria reports that led to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, is the fact that according to official OSCE reports, 9 days before Russia invaded, Kiev lauched a full-scale WAR against the Russian-speaking population in the Donbas forcing Russia to intervene.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      February 24, 2023 at 10:42

      As reported by Consortium News on Feb. 21, 2022:


  13. Tony
    February 24, 2023 at 09:13

    In today’s Guardian, Gordon Brown has an article “Mr Putin, you will be brought to justice for your crimes.”

    The article is beyond parody: It is written by the man who was finance minister at the time of the invasion of Iraq. He appropriated the funds to allow participation in that invasion.

    Brown then cites as precedent the example of the Nuremburg trials and Tokyo trials at the end of World War II (subtly equating Putin and Hitler).

    He then writes:

    “The US military will probably be advising Biden to resist, worried that such a tribunal would open the door to attempts to prosecute it for actions elsewhere”.

    He then gives this assurance:

    “The crime of aggression would be being applied in the Ukrainian context only”.

    He does not tell us why such consideration should be limited to the Ukraine. But that statement is yet another reminder of how totally unprincipled he is.

    He then argues that some people might think the additional pressure would be counterproductive:

    “And that it would leave Putin less willing to sue for peace.”

    I think he has probably revealed what this is really about. The real purpose of these war crimes trial demands is almost certainly a cynical attempt to keep the war going.

    I do not believe that Brown cares at all for the people of the Ukraine any more than he cared for the death and destruction that he helped to facilitate in Iraq.

    • Graeme
      February 24, 2023 at 18:48

      I too read the Gordon Brown piece (of crap), and had the same reaction as you.

      Further to your comments on Brown, he was also an MP on the government benches during the loathsome sanctions on Iraq which were responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths, many resulting from lack of basic medical care.
      This in itself is reason enough for him to be sent to trial for serious crimes against humanity; especially considering his senior role as Chancellor of the Exchequer for some of that period.

      I found the article in the Guardian by going into their UK version (I am in Australia) and noticed a number of things:
      1 – I don’t think that the article appeared on the Australian edition, as checked over the course of the day;
      2 – the article does not seem to have stayed up for long; and
      3 – the article was not opened for readers’ comments, in keeping with Guardian’s below-the-line comments policy; a policy they also apply to articles about Julian Assange.

      Your final sentence referring to the ‘the people of the Ukraine’ resonated with me.
      Too readily and easily it seems to be forgotten that ‘the people’ are dispensable pawns, their welfare and their lives are merely numbers in some collateral murder.

      • Tony
        February 25, 2023 at 03:51

        Thank you for your response.

        Gordon Brown is really dreadful.

      • Valerie
        February 25, 2023 at 04:23

        It’s true, they have different articles for different countries. And Brown didn’t mention Bush who should also be indicted for war crimes. But if you search the ICC website for indictments, they are predominantly of African origin and countries.

  14. michael888
    February 24, 2023 at 06:46

    Putin only required Crimea in 2014 after the US and the Viceroy/VP Biden UkroNAZIs overthrew the democratically elected government of Ukraine for the second time. Yanukovych was also replaced in 2005 by the CIA with the installation of Yushchenko, an American trained banker married to an American CIA/ State Dept officer. Yushchenko was a good US puppet, who under Biden, installed UkroNAZIs in important positions in the military, police and security apparatus, and named Stepan Bandera Hero of Ukraine. Unfortunately for the US, Yushchenko was seen for the US puppet he was, and received only 5.5% of the vote in UN proctored elections in 2009/ 2010. Yanukovych was once again elected President; he was still a US puppet– his handlers included the Podesta Group, Greg Craig, and of course Manafort and Gates, none of whom filed the legal paperwork to represent a foreign country. The handlers were supposed to steer Ukraine toward the West, but seemed more interested in stuffing their pockets with hryvnia. Yanukovych is vilified by the US, but he did what the Ukrainian people expected of him. He played the EU against Russia to get the best deal on loans (more offered by the EU but with steep interest rates); Russia wanted to keep Ukraine close, gave them better terms, and Yanukovych chose the Russian deal in late 2013. Incensed, Biden gave the green light to overthrow Yanukovych which happened in February 2014 led by Nuland, Pyatt and Biden’s UkroNAZIs. This is called democracy in the US; total loss of independence and sovereignty.
    Even then Putin had no interest in the Donbas states, who only wanted autonomy while remaining in Ukraine. It was only after Biden’s provocations about removing ethnic Russians from important positions, the eradication of Russian language and culture use in schools and official functions, and of course the eight years of Ukraine shelling the Donbas. Ukraine’s killing of 14,000 of its own citizens, many of whom were civilians and the vast majority of whom were ethnic Russian Ukrainians, led to the Duma sanctioning Russia’s involvement in protecting their “cousins”. Putin would have preferred the Donbas stayed in Ukraine as their votes generally determined elections.
    But Biden and the CIA seem determined to continue WWII to destroy the Slav untermenschen and steal their vast resources. In Poroshenko and Zelensky, the latter elected on a “Peace with Russia” platform with over 70% of the vote, Biden has restored good puppet dictators to Ukraine, just as in many other countries.
    Putin has made it clear that if they are losing the nukes will be deployed. Our neocons say he is bluffing.

    • Thomas Kahlet
      February 25, 2023 at 10:41

      Best summary I’ve seen on historical context. Thanks.

    • Rob Roy
      February 26, 2023 at 10:33

      Jim Gala,
      “9 days?” You meann EIGHT years of Nazis murdering Russian speakers in the Donbas, after the US coup (Obama, Biden, Clinton, Nuland) turned that horror lose. The US is totally responsible for this war, having planned it for decades. BTW, the Bascha massacre was by the Ukrainians, not Russians. Americans are easily fooled.2a

    • Rob Roy
      February 26, 2023 at 11:15

      I have done extensive research, as I think you have. I would say a couple things. Crimea is Russian since 1773, yes, and Kruschev giving it to Ukraine in 1954 was a gesture to his heritage. I would add to your list Zelensky’s throwing open the country to all western corporations who want to buy up his country. Ukraine is for sale to the highest bidders. That cowardly twerp has fooled the world, stamping his feet like Rumplestiltkin and screaming “more weapons!” We can thank the US’s dying empire for this. Bottom line, Putin loves the Russians. Our presidents and state departments just use the citizens for fodder for their ugly personal enrichment.

  15. Francis Lee
    February 24, 2023 at 04:21

    Russia has been invaded no less the 7 times in its history. Only 1 invasion was successful. It was Rurik who became the first Russian Prince 862-1228. Then came the invasions of the Tartars. Poles, Swedes, French Germans (twice) all initially attempted to conquer Russia, but all failed.

    But apparently ”this time is different.” Now where have we heard that particular cliche before!? The American empire led by the imperialist-woke forces seems intent on having another tilt at the Russian empire – apparently unaware at the difficulties of subduing Russia even after all before it have failed.

    The collective West is dealing with a powerful adversary who doesn’t frighten easily and is armed to the teeth with the latest war materiel. The NATO war machine has failed to learn the history of Russia’s tactical methods. The Swedish, French, German, and in future the Anglo-American war machine had collectively conquered their opponents and had all stood undefeated until they made the mistake of marching on Moscow.

    ”The only lasting road to Moscow was the Viking road of Rurik and his band of Vikings. Let us hope that no-one will ever be tempted to emulate King Charles of Sweden, Napoleon or Hitler in imposing a military solution of a kind which history has shown must fail and which may will bring nuclear annihilation to mankind.”

    (Seven Roads to Moscow – Lieutenant-Colonel W.G.F. Jackson, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst 1950-53).

    • Rob Roy
      February 26, 2023 at 10:38

      Frances Lee, thank you.

  16. February 24, 2023 at 02:12

    Thanks Joe for your article about President Putin’s state of the nation speech. You may be interested to find out more about
    the disruption you referred to that is very serious – See President Vladimir Putin’s State of the Nation address, 21 February 2023 hxxps://gilbertdoctorow.com/author/gilbertdoctorow/

  17. D.H.Fabian
    February 24, 2023 at 01:22

    Russia had held back at the border until (US-supplied) missiles began coming over that border, into Russia. Remember the US response to 9/11 (i.e., the longest, most costly war in US history)? Right, Russia didn’t follow that extreme example. They moved forward with a targeted attack on infrastructure, at minimal loss of life, intended to put an end to Zelensky’s (now Biden’s) war.

    Keep in mind that Ukraine was a region of Russia since the 1700s. It became an independent country when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. US business (and political) interests began pouring in. Note the US role in Ukraine’s 2014 coup, and in installing (comedian/actor) Zelensky in 2019. The way the story was supposed to turn out is that Ukraine will become a NATO possession, and Zelensky will get the Hollywood movie contract that he wanted from the start.

    The key point is that Putin did not launch or seek this war. Russia had granted Ukraine its independence. World nuclear power Russia is roughly twice the size of the US, while conflict-drained Ukraine is the size of Texas alone. Obviously, if Russia wanted Ukraine, they would have it. What they unconditionally will not allow is US/NATO bases in Ukraine.

    • Henry Smith
      February 24, 2023 at 07:39

      And, it was US missiles in Turkey, threatening the USSR’s borders, that almost led to nuclear annihilation over Cuba. These bast@rds never learn and never stop; peace and mutual respect has never been on their agenda, and never will.

    • willful knowledge
      February 24, 2023 at 09:15

      Russia’s geographic size has nothing to do with Russian power. Much of its land mass is difficult to use at best. Its population is less than half of the US with a GDP PPP less than the US or the EU. Ukraine was a region Russia only because of conquest, which is the only reason Russia is as large as it.

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