In 2022, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Many expected Ukraine to fall easily, but instead Ukrainian forces fought back with courage and determination. Using the latest technology, they thwarted Russian propaganda and ambushed Russian forces. In areas occupied by Russia or its proxies, the Ukrainian military uncovered mass graves and other evidence of war crimes committed by Putin’s troops. They destroyed hospitals, water treatment plants and cultural sites. They also killed and wounded civilians, and displaced thousands of others.
Putin and his cronies understood that a war against Ukraine was a gamble that might cost them their political power. They feared that the Russian people might reject their autocratic rule if they saw democratic government in a neighboring country working. So they spread a myth about an existential threat to the Russian state from a “non-Russian” Ukraine with Western military ties.
The West responded by providing Ukraine with billions of dollars worth of equipment. NATO allies have delivered air defense systems, artillery and ammunition. And, as President Biden recently reminded us, a number of the nations have agreed to provide Ukraine with state-of-the-art tanks.
The Kremlin has portrayed these aid efforts as proof of a conspiracy to invade Russia. This narrative completely reverses the true causal relationship. It is Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine that has reenergized NATO and prompted so many nations to step forward with generous help. The United States, NATO allies and other countries should keep up the pressure to ensure that Russia understands that it will pay a price for its actions.