On February 24 Russian forces crossed the border into what even Russia recognizes as Ukrainian territory. There have been artillery bombardments, air strikes and missile strikes.
The Ukrainians claim to have shot down Russian fighter jets. Russian troops advanced from Russia and Belarus. This was after weeks of Russia saying it would not invade Ukraine. Putin has told lie after lie after lie about Ukraine.
Putin has been rumoured for years to be suffering from Parkinson's disease. This explains his strange walk. The 69 year old might wish to ''solve'' Ukraine as he sees it before he is too incapacitated to carry on.
Vladimir Putin has accused Ukraine of ''genocide'' a few times in the last couple of months. He provided no corroboratory particulars whatsoever. Who was killed? When? Where? How many? By whom? How were they slain? How does he know? He has not evinced a shred of evidence. Genocide is the gravest crime known to man. To wilfully murder huge numbers of people on the basis of ethnicity is what genocide is.
The Russian Government has been fabricating events for weeks to justify its war of aggression. Last week civilians were shown supposedly 'live' on TV being evacuated from Russian occupied Luhansk and Donbas to Russia. It then emerged that this footage was shot two days before it was broadcast.
Putin said the objective of the military action was ''the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine.'' He warned that any country that interferes will have instant retaliation. The Luhansk People's Republic and the Donbas People's Republic requested Russian military support. But they did not call on Russia to invade the rest of Ukraine!
Calling Ukraine 'Nazi' is an outrageous slur. President Zelensky is Jewish and unlikely to be a Nazi. Ukraine is a functioning democracy whereas Russia is semi-totalitarian. The ultra-nationalists in Ukraine poll 2% of the vote. Ultra-nationalists in Russia do much better than that.
Putin complained that Ukraine had ''made war on the Russian language and all things Russian.'' Yet again it is demonstrable lie. Zelensky is a native speaker of Russian! He sometimes speaks Russian in public. There are millions of ethnic Russians and russophones in Ukraine. People are allowed to speak Russian there. It is true that Russia is no longer a co-official language. Ukraine only downgraded the language after Russia launched its war of unprovoked aggression against Ukraine.
Putin's rationale is this: if you dislike another country's language policy, then you are entitled to kill thousands of its people. Even if Ukraine's language policy is bad, Ukraine is a sovereign state and is absolutely entitled to pursue its own policies. Russia has no right whatsoever to interfere. Russia jealously guards its own independence. Putin has repeatedly said Ukraine has no history of statehood. Every state has to start some time. His argument is specious. Why has Russia recognized Ukraine for 31 years if Ukraine does not exist?
What really has no history of statehood are the Luhansk People's Republic and the Donbas People's Republic. These two entities are Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine that Russia recognized as independent countries only days ago.
Ukraine was the second nuclear weapons state in 1994. It voluntarily gave its nuclear arsenal to Russia for free in return for the Budapest Agreement. Russia promised to respect Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Moscow has shown bad faith time and again. No government is as serially dishonest as the Russian Government. Moscow will renege on every agreement that it can.
Biden and other Western leaders have promised to impose stronger sanctions. Ukraine has appealed for this and weapons. Ukraine is said to have fine defensive weapons. It can inflict significant casualties on Russia. But Ukraine is outnumbered at least 4:1. In heavy weapons it is more like 10:1. Ukraine can be attacked by Russia from all points of the compass.
The Russian Stock Market has crashed 28%. The RUB fell 10% against the USD. Interest rates and inflation are likely to rise significantly. It is probable that more banks will be sanctioned. The US might seek to get Russia blocked from SWIFT (the international funds transfer network of banks) but the US does not have sole control of this. The EU is not talking about refusing to buy Russian energy. The US and EU are considering banning tech sales to Russia, particularly of microchips.
Tens of thousands of people are fleeing Kyiv. Millions of Ukrainian refugees will probably pour into Poland and Hungary.
Putin probably wants more land. He will take Kyiv in days. He will not seek to annex the whole of Ukraine. That would be too costly. He would like to turn Ukraine into a satrapy.
One of his goals is to demilitarise Ukraine. Every country has the right to an army. You can see why Ukraine needs one! They are aggressed by their bullying neighbour. Ukraine wishes to join NATO because it is constantly threatened by Russia.
A war of aggression is illegal under the UN Charter. The Nuremberg Principles also hold that waging such a war is a crime against humanity. Even Putin never alleged that Ukraine coveted an inch of Russia or fired a shot at Russia.
Nothing in this article is anti-Russian. Russian people are not bad; no nationality i. The much put-upon Russian people groan under oppression and kleptocracy. They are gulled by their shamelessly lying government. Some of them have been duped by the incessant propaganda of the Putin regime.
(George Callaghan is a political analyst based in the UK. Views expressed are personal)