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What is an unbiased view of the causes and trigger of the armed conflict in Ukraine, that started on the 24th of February 2022?

With “trigger” is meant the most recent cause. The one that was like “the straw that broke the camels back”, as the old saying goes.

Besides the most immediate cause: the trigger; causes can also be long term and short term causes.

Wikipedia articles are on the whole very informative, but they are often too long and general in nature to easily draw specialized conclusions from.

What were the long and short term causes behind, and trigger of, Putin's decision to start the invasion of Ukraine?

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    Have you checked Wiki? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2022_Russian_invasion_of_Ukraine#Prelude
    – Allure
    Jun 9 at 12:09
  • @Allure. If you agree with that article, please present the causes and triggers in bullet form, like one of the answers in my closed question did. Jun 9 at 12:13
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    I'm not keen to do your reading and summarize for you, sorry.
    – Allure
    Jun 9 at 12:14
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    The causes and triggers of armed conflicts are better discussed decades or centuries later, when the participants are dead, all documents are available, and the historians have no ax to grind against either side. In this sense, WW1/WW2 are already difficult subjects, wars in Vietnam or Algeria are even more so. The war in Ukraine stirs so many passions, and we have so little factual information that most we can do is guesses. It could be still a very interesting discussion... but it falls beyond the scope of the SE (I am not voting to close, but it won't take long before others do). Jun 9 at 12:58
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    Without asking this from some specific perspective, answers are going to be "opinion-based". Because Russia says one thing, Ukraine and West another etc. Furthermore, there was at least one prior question here about the Russian perspective, if you use the search function. politics.stackexchange.com/questions/71599/… ; politics.stackexchange.com/questions/70484/…
    – Fizz
    Jun 9 at 13:33

1 Answer 1

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Knowing the true answer requires speculation about the internal motivations of President Putin. Such a thing is out of scope on this Board. One might talk about the published reasoning of various governments, think tanks, and journalists.

  • First, you have to decide if you give weight to the public justifications by Russia, either because you believe them or because you believe that the Russian leadership genuinely believes them.
    • Russia said that the current leadership of Ukraine are Nazis and a threat to the Russian-speaking minority in eastern Ukraine. There you might look at the war which had been ongoing between the Ukrainian government and the separatist regions. Of course it had been ongoing for years, but recent deaths might have been the proverbial straw.
    • Russia said that Ukraine was allied with NATO, notably the United States, and host to secret labs and weapons. I don't believe that Russia genuinely believes this, but they might have had (incorrect? correct?) intelligence reports. Remember how the US deceived itself regarding Iraqi WMD.
    • Russia says that the so-called color revolutions are actually a plot by the West, aimed at governments which do not comply with Washington's wishes. The West has been questioning President Putin's legitimacy for years. While I believe that Russia believes this, I do not see a proverbial straw here.
  • Or you look at the Western analysis of Russian motivations, and wonder what might have changed from 2018 or 2020 to 2022. There one might consider three aspects:
    • Russia obviously believed that it had sufficient military power for a swift victory. Russia had been pursuing military reforms for several years, they might have believed that they were good enough now.
    • Russia might have believed that economic and geopolitical trends go against it, and that a window of opportunity was closing if it did not act now.
    • The President Putin might have medical issues and feel that his likely successors might not complete his visions. Without more evidence, that is speculative.
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