- May 20, 2001
And yet in the very articles you cite, Burns also says he favoured NATO expansion just more slowly. And let’s not forget, Ukraine is not a member of NATO, the West DID pay attention to Russian sensitivities on that, and yet Russia still invaded. There are lots of reasons why Putin lost trust in the West (and vice versa) and I certainly remember thinking at the time we did not handle Russia very sensitively post the fall of the Soviets, but the one thing we did do well, was establish an environment where the former Soviet republics could prosper in freely and in peace. Russia may have felt this was provocative, yes, there was a risk in that, but it wasn’t really about respecting Russian colonial interests anymore, those vanished with the Soviets. When the Ukraine war is won, it may well be seen as the point at which Russia is forced to realise that the imperial game is finally over, and they will need to find a new way of engaging with its former colonies, the same lesson everyone else in the West has had to learn.A repost
the current head of the CIA made his views known on the issue:
With the part in bold being my primary point. You can understand the idea of provocation without also saying that Russia was justified in its invasion, and that's the broader point made by almost every academic source cited in this thread. I don't think it's controversial or that it implies a mutually exclusive premise.