For years, Putin didn’t invade Ukraine. What made him finally snap in 2022?

As we mark the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it is important to reflect on the factors that led to this aggression and what the future might hold. While Moscow has always had ambitions to exert control over Ukraine, Vladimir Putin’s decision to launch a full-scale attack on Kyiv in February 2022 raised questions about why he didn’t attempt to do so earlier.

Despite criticism from Russian hardliners who urged him to invade sooner, Putin chose to limit his actions following the Ukrainian revolution of 2014. At the time, Ukraine’s military was weak, and the pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was in power. There were also incidents such as the killing of pro-Russian demonstrators in Odesa that could have provided a pretext for military intervention.

Instead of trying to take control of the entire country, Putin annexed Crimea and provided semi-covert support to separatists in the Donbas region. However, his speeches and writings suggest that Moscow has always had its sights set on dominating Ukraine. As we consider the current situation and the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, it is important to remember the events that led us here and the potential consequences of continued aggression.

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