NATO expansion is the root cause that triggered Russia’s attack on Ukraine. The Eastern European countries which had formerly been party to the Warsaw Pact and had remained poor under USSR influence were tempted by lucrative incentives offered by NATO. In fact, NATO was encircling Russia and squeezing it from all possible directions, having deployed their defense forces and weapons around Russian territory and creating a genuine concern for the latter.

Russia had been trying to convince the US, UK, and EU to refrain from deploying NATO forces in its neighborhood. It tried to resolve the situation peacefully and through diplomatic channels for eight years, but the West did not bother with it. The Second Minsk Agreement was a document aimed at resolving the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine. It was agreed to on February 11-12, 2015 at a summit in Minsk by the leaders of Germany, France, Ukraine, and Russia in the Normandy Four format, and was signed by the Contact Group for the Peaceful Settlement of the Situation in Eastern Ukraine, consisting of representatives of Ukraine, Russia, the OSCE and the unrecognized Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Later, the Minsk agreements were approved by a special resolution of the UN Security Council. However, since the signing of the Minsk agreements, not one of their points has been implemented by the Ukrainian side.

Western countries pushed the Ukrainians to avoid implementing these agreements as they needed another hot spot close to Russia. And they were continuing to train Nazis, indoctrinating an anti-Russian policy and killing civilians, including children, women, and the elderly.  

The Western media has launched a massive campaign against Russia, distorting facts, spreading fake news, and malign narratives, and fueling the situation. The current irresponsible actions and statements from the EU, the UK, and the US have forced President Putin to put his nukes on high alert. The ill-motivated policy of arming civilians for a guerrilla war has also forced Russia to target the civil population in Ukraine. Initially, Russia was avoiding collateral damage and was focused only on command and control of security forces, but, with the distribution of arms to civilians, the targets of Russian forces grew to include the civilian population too.

War is never appreciated in any part of the world. The loss of human lives is regretted; whether in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, etc., all human beings are the same and deserve equal respect. In fact, human beings are the most precious thing in this universe and must be respected, protected, and taken good care of, irrespective of race, nationality, religion, and ethnicity. All humankind is equal and all mothers bear the same pains.

Events during the past few months constituted the last chance to avoid a hot war in Eastern Europe. Putin demanded that NATO provide guarantees on several security issues. Specifically, the Kremlin wanted binding assurances that the alliance would reduce the scope of its growing military presence in Eastern Europe and would never offer membership to Ukraine. He backed up those demands with a massive military buildup on Ukraine’s borders. The Biden administration’s response to Russia’s quest for meaningful Western concessions and security guarantees was tepid and evasive. Putin then clearly decided to escalate matters. Washington’s attempt to make Ukraine a NATO political and military pawn (even absent the country’s formal membership in the alliance) may end up costing the Ukrainian people dearly.

History will show that Washington’s treatment of Russia in the decades following the demise of the Soviet Union was a policy blunder of epic proportions. It was entirely predictable that NATO expansion would ultimately lead to a tragic, perhaps violent, breach of relations with Moscow. Perceptive analysts warned of the likely consequences, but those warnings went unheeded. The world is now paying the price for the U.S. foreign policy establishment’s myopia and arrogance.

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