Prelude to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

Russian preparation for the invasion since March 2021

The 2021–2022 Russo-Ukrainian crisis includes quotes both from the Prelude to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine and from the February 24, 2022 invasion by Russian troops with its aftermath.

An unclassified 2021 U.S. intelligence document on Russian military movement (nearby the Ukrainian border).

For context, in March and April 2021, Russia massed about 100,000 soldiers and military equipment near its border with Ukraine, representing the highest force mobilization since the country's annexation of Crimea in 2014. Satellite imagery showed movements of armor, missiles, and other heavy weaponry. The troops were partially removed by June but in December once again over 100,000 Russian troops were massed near the border.

The ongoing crisis stems from the protracted Russo-Ukrainian War that began in early 2014. In December 2021, Russia advanced two draft treaties that contained requests of what it referred to as "security guarantees" including a legally binding promise that Ukraine would not join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as well as a reduction in NATO troops and military hardware stationed in Eastern Europe and threatened unspecified military response if those demands were not met in full. The United States and other NATO members rejected these requests, warning Russia of "swift and severe" economic sanctions should it further invade Ukraine. On February 24, Russian troops invaded Ukraine.

QuotesEdit

(in Chronological order)

2014Edit

  • Russia feels bound by no international legal constraints on its actions in Ukraine, least of all the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, by which Russia and western states pledged to respect Ukrainian territorial integrity in return for Kiev's surrender of its Soviet-era nuclear arsenal. Putin dispensed with that particular piece of paper in a couple of lines.
  • That in turn brought up the burning question of whether the ambition of current military options ranged further than Crimea to the largely pro-Moscow, Russian-speaking industrial east, potentially slicing Ukraine in two. Putin clearly, very deliberately, left the option open.
  • Speaking of the sanctions, they are not just a knee-jerk reaction on behalf of the United States or its allies to our position regarding the events and the coup in Ukraine, or even the so-called Crimean Spring. I’m sure that if these events had never happened... they would have come up with some other excuse to try to contain Russia’s growing capabilities, affect our country in some way, or even take advantage of it... However, in this case I would like to speak about the most serious and sensitive issue: international security. Since 2002, after the US unilaterally pulled out of the ABM Treaty, which was absolutely a cornerstone of international security, a strategic balance of forces and stability, the US has been working relentlessly to create a global missile defense system, including in Europe. This poses a threat not only to Russia, but to the world as a whole – precisely due to the possible disruption of this strategic balance of forces.

2015Edit

 
Ukraine has always had a special significance for Russia... Ukraine was part of Russia for a long time. ~ Henry Kissinger
  • Crimea is a special case. Ukraine was part of Russia for a long time. You can’t accept the principle that any country can just change the borders and take a province of another country. But if the West is honest with itself, it has to admit that there were mistakes on its side. The annexation of Crimea was not a move toward global conquest. It was not Hitler moving into Czechoslovakia... Europe and America did not understand the impact of these events, starting with the negotiations about Ukraine’s economic relations with the European Union and culminating in the demonstrations in Kiev. All these, and their impact, should have been the subject of a dialogue with Russia.
  • Our problem is that we do not fully understand Putin’s calculus, just as he does not understand ours. In Putin’s view, the United States, the European Union and NATO have launched an economic and proxy war in Ukraine to weaken Russia and push it into a corner. As Valery Gerasimov, chief of staff of the Russian armed forces, has underscored, this is a hybrid, 21st-century conflict, in which financial sanctions, support for oppositional political movements and propaganda have all been transformed from diplomatic tools to instruments of war. Putin likely believes that any concession or compromise he makes will encourage the West to push further.
  • The Revolution of Dignity and the war brought about a geopolitical reorientation of Ukrainian society. The proportion of those with positive attitudes toward Russia decreased from 80 percent in January 2014 to under 50 percent in September of the same year. In November 2014, 64 percent of those polled supported Ukraine’s accession to the European Union (that figure had stood at 39 percent in November 2013). In April 2014, only a third of Ukrainians had wanted their country to join NATO; in November 2014, more than half supported that course. There can be little doubt that the experience of war not only united most Ukrainians but also turned the country’s sympathies westward.
    • Historian Serhii Plokhy The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine (2015) p 353

2016Edit

  • Of particular concern to Russia are plans to expand NATO to Ukraine. These plans were articulated explicitly at the Bucharest NATO summit of April 2008, when Georgia and Ukraine were promised eventual membership in NATO. The wording was unambiguous: “NATO welcomes Ukraine’s and Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations for membership in NATO. We agreed today that these countries will become members of NATO.” With the “Orange Revolution” victory of pro-Western candidates in Ukraine in 2004, State Department representative Daniel Fried rushed there and “emphasized US support for Ukraine’s NATO and Euro-Atlantic aspirations,” as a WikiLeaks report revealed.

2018Edit

2019Edit

2021Edit

  • We ‪assess that Russia does not want a direct conflict with US forces. Russian officials have long believed that the United States is conducting its own ‘influence campaigns’ to undermine Russia, weaken President Vladimir Putin, and install Western-friendly regimes in the states of the former Soviet Union and elsewhere. Russia seeks an accommodation with the United States on mutual noninterference in both countries’ domestic affairs and US recognition of Russia’s claimed sphere of influence over much of the former Soviet Union.
  • Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, warned on Friday that the Kremlin perceives the United States and its allies as stoking the war in eastern Ukraine... “The civil war in Ukraine, ongoing for eight years, is far from over,” Mr. Lavrov said, in remarks carried by the Russian Information Agency. “The country’s (Ukraine's) authorities don’t intend to resolve the conflict” through diplomacy, he added. “Unfortunately, we see the United States and other NATO nations supporting the militaristic intentions of Kyiv, provisioning Ukraine with weapons and sending military specialists,” Mr. Lavrov said. After Russian troops massed near the Ukrainian border over the fall, officials in Moscow repeatedly characterized the eastern Ukraine conflict as a pressing security concern for Russia, though it has been simmering for eight years now between Ukraine’s central government and Russia-backed separatists.
    • Russian Foreign Minister Levels New Warning on Ukraine, Andrew E. Kramer, New York Times, Dec. 31, 2021

See alsoEdit

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