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.

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