The Washington Post
Ukraine’s robust defense
Regarding David Ignatius’s March 10 Friday Opinion commentary, “The moment when Putin turned away from the West”:
Russian President Vladimir Putin has twice invaded Ukraine to accomplish what the czars and the Soviet Union had not been able to achieve. Mr. Putin probably had a visceral reaction to the mother state rejecting his intended restoration of “All the Russias,” and turning instead Westward politically, economically and, perhaps most devastating of all, socioculturally from the “Third Rome” to the European Union.
Ukraine’s March 2014 decision — following the Euromaidan and the failure of Ukraine’s then pro-russian (and corrupt) president to prevent it and his subsequent flight to Russia — to reach an association agreement with the European Union precipitated Mr. Putin’s decision to occupy and annex Crimea and support the breakaway (and resource-rich) parts of Ukraine’s Luhansk and Donetsk regions.
Mr. Putin probably viewed a second invasion as imperative after Ukraine’s constitutional amendment that allows it to seek E.U. membership (and NATO membership, if necessary). Once Ukraine became permanently part of the European Union, any Russian action would have major adverse political, economic and possibly military consequences. Perhaps to the surprise of Mr. Putin and other supporters of Russia, that happened anyway.
Whether the war ends in Ukraine’s favor — which would serve as a deterrent to Russia and others contemplating subjection of other independent nations or peoples — is today in the hands of ourselves and our friends and allies and is in our and their national security interests. Peter Swiers, Williamsburg, Va.