All sober analysis of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine can only lead to one conclusion for whom is to blame. I have no respect for anyone who claims otherwise. The idea that the EU’s and NATO’s expansion and potential expansion eastwards should somehow be treated as a legitimate reasoning for invading Ukraine is beyond farcical. To be of the same opinion as the propaganda coming from the known revisionists of the Russian regime indicates a lack of clear thinking.
First, let me explain why certain people are of the opinion that the EU and NATO are responsible for this war. They argue that Eastern European nations peacefully exercising their democratic right to join NATO or the EU constitute a direct expansionist threat to Russia. That nations that had been part of the dictatorial USSR’s tyrannical “sphere of influence” had no legitimate business increasing ties with Western Europe or signing up to supranational bodies that Russia did not control. Apparently, when faced with such clear “provocation” and hostile action against Russia’s position as a regional hegemon, direct military action was a reasonable and understandable response because the EU and NATO forced Russia into a corner of permanent decline.
To argue that the West should accept culpability for this war is as bizarre as it sounds. There is only one place to look for culpability, only one person and one nation that can be blamed for this war. Russia and its authoritarian President Putin are solely responsible for this act of untrammelled aggression. To condone Russia’s perspective, is to justify its war.
Not only is the opinion that the EU or NATO is somehow responsible for this war clearly wrong, it is also an incredibly dangerous view to take. Taking this position invites Western nations into apathy for fear of any action on the international stage that might then be considered “legitimate” grounds for invasion. After all, Russia invaded Ukraine after it only expressed interest in joining the EU and NATO and the West appeared open to it. If even the merest suggestion of closer ties to the West is military provocation, then I shudder to think of what a formal international agreement might mean for those handwringing apologists.
Another major issue with the line that these apologists are still somehow sticking to, is that this tragedy could well have been averted if the West had taken serious preventative action by arming Ukraine earlier or streamlining its accession to NATO or the EU. At the very least, Ukraine would have been better prepared to cope with the obvious pressures of invasion.
It is a real scandal that the West did not see something like this coming. Putin’s actions are completely unjustifiable, but it is not the first time that he has done something like this. There is a clear pattern of behaviour when it comes to Russia striking out with military action whenever it “feels threatened”. From Litvinenko to the Skripals, Abkhazia and South Ossetia to Georgia, Crimea to Kyiv. Russia deciding to act and its invasion of Ukraine was predictable, it should have been seen coming. But we should never accept that it was justified or provoked by the West.