Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine: A War With Zero Legitimacy and Built Upon Lies

Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown the world how dangerous he can be.

For the most part before his invasion of Ukraine – Putin’s public persona had been one of a highly calculating, logical, reasonable politician; as someone who managed to hold on to power in Russia for decades because of his charisma and economic policies that have lifted Russia from economic abyss.

While politicos and high-level politicians already knew of Putin’s shadow side, this “second” invasion of Ukraine last week exposed Putin as a liar, thug, and megalomanic obsessed with power.

In Putin’s invasion of Crimea in 2014, some thought that perhaps Crimea’s annexation could be overlooked. With Crimea’s historical ties with Russia and its residents being pro-Russian, Ukraine, Europe and the world let that invasion go without a single shot fired. Perhaps more importantly, the conventional wisdom then was the 2014 incident was to be Russia’s one-and-done invasion of Ukraine.

We were all fooled. Even Chinese historians (who saw Putin as an ally of China misunderstood by the West) are saying they were fooled by Putin.

Reasons for invasion
IMMORTALIZED IN HISTORY. Putin having been one of the most powerful figures in the world for over two decades, someone completely unchallenged in Russia, and a wealthy man beyond imagination – it’s plausible to think of Putin’s invasion as that storied restless emperor who only seeks one last goal, to be immortalized in history.

Russians have already been comparing Putin to the Russian czars and that country’s greatest leaders of the past, a few of whom initiated conquest or fought to retake Russian territory from foreign invaders. Whether conquest for historical glory was a personal goal of Putin’s in this situation, that remains debatable for historians to argue. But his timing is certainly off as the age of conquest has long gone by.

NAZIS AND DONBAS ABUSES. Putin’s excuses to sell to the world to justify his occupation were 1) that he is saving Ukraine from neo-Nazis; and 2) that he is stopping abuses in the Donbas (pro-Russian, eastern part of Ukraine) from Ukraine’s central government.  In just hours after Russia’s initial phase of invasion, he declared the Donbas as an independent region that Russians would move in to protect from Ukraine.  So fantastical both selling points are that no one outside of his orbit is taking them seriously.

REGIME CHANGE. US intelligence and the Pentagon have cited that Putin’s real goal is to decapitate Ukraine’s current pro-western leadership in President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and to replace him with a Moscow-friendly president. While that most likely is only partially true, it doesn’t explain urgency.

REVIVE SOVIET EMPIRE.  President Joe Biden’s explanation could also be a partial explanation with some truth. Biden said Putin is disconnected from the rest of the world and wants to revive the former Soviet.  Biden didn’t elaborate if he had U.S. intelligence to support his explanation.

Biden and NATO underestimated, Ukraine Resilience underestimated
As authoritarians are typically blinded by their own egos, Putin underestimated both the US-NATO alliance and Ukraine.

U.S. and NATO’s resolve and support for Ukraine came rapidly due in part to U.S. Intelligence which rendered the west time to prepare.  NATO’S expediency and pin-point accuracy must have surprised Putin.

Putin perhaps underestimated NATO thinking that it was on a downslide after Trump dragged it on dirt over the four years he was president. Germany has a new Chancellor (Olaf Scholz) who as a newbie and from that country’s liberal party, Putin perhaps didn’t think of much of him. President Joe Biden was vice president at the time when Putin got away with invading Ukraine and annexing Crimea. Putin must have assumed Biden’s reaction to another Ukraine invasion would be a repeat of President Barack Obama’s.

Olaf, it turns out, is far bolder than Angela Merkel ever was. Germany imports 50% of its gas and crude oil from Russia, but that hasn’t stopped Olaf from giving Ukraine massive supplies of arms and sending fighter jets to the region.

As for Biden, his supercharged sanctions amounts to in essence economic warfare. The initial sanctions might not have been enough to force a Russian retreat. But the sanctions added since the first few days have serious consequences (i.e. U.S. sanctions on Russia’s central bank that effectively prohibits Americans from doing any business with the bank as well as freezes its assets within the United States). These later sanctions will hurt Russia dramatically by the day and eventually force Putin to seek conflict resolutions.

The biggest miscalculation that will follow Putin to his grave perhaps is the resolve of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people. In David vs Goliath fashion, the Ukrainian military is outperforming (at least up to this reporting) the mighty Russian military; and it has defended Ukraine territory far longer than military experts thought possible.

As for the Ukrainian people’s bravery, an example of this was highlight in a member of the Supreme Council of Ukraine. In her interview with western media, she talked about never owning or even having touched a gun, is a non-violent person, but is prepared to use the rifle given to her by the Ukraine government to help defend her family and country from Russian invaders. She is typical of millions of Ukraine citizens willing to fight and face death if forced to do so.

As clear as night and day
In the course of history there have been many “gray” wars where it wasn’t clearcut who was right and who was wrong. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is not one of them. Russia is the clear aggressor, unprovoked and have no legitimacy for their invasion. We hope, the world hopes, Putin will come to his senses and order a complete military withdrawal immediately.

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