But this account is wrong: the United States and its European allies share most of the responsibility for the crisis. The taproot of the trouble is NATO enlargement, the central element of a larger strategy to move Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit and integrate it into the West. At the same time, the EU’s expansion eastward and the West’s backing of the pro-democracy movement in Ukraine -- beginning with the Orange Revolution in 2004 -- were critical elements, too. Since the mid-1990s, Russian leaders have adamantly opposed NATO enlargement, and in recent years, they have made it clear that they would not stand by while their strategically important neighbor turned into a Western bastion. For Putin, the illegal overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected and pro-Russian president -- which he rightly labeled a “coup” -- was the final straw. He responded by taking Crimea, a peninsula he feared would host a NATO naval base, and working to destabilize Ukraine until it abandoned its efforts to join the West.
Killing one person is murder, killing 100,000 is foreign policy
On those grounds, if Russia is against NATO expansion, why would it allow the opportunity of Ukraine to go Westwards by bullying its "strategically important ally?"
The problem is simple: Russia has erected an authoritarian regime since 2000 step by step, its elites are driven by an ideology of national independency and ethnic chauvinism, and the Russian people has still not accepted that Russia is no world power anymore since 1991.
Between Russia ca. 2000-2015 and Germany ca. 1933-1938, there are striking parallels. The Russian elites and government basically feel and believe the exact same thing as the German right in the 1920s and 30s, and their answers are the same -- allegedly, the West is after destroying them, and the ends justify all means to roll back and resist Western influence.
The fault is not with the West or Ukraine.
The fault is with Russia, which does not accept Ukraine's sovereignty, and Ukraine's right to choose the partner they want. They decided in favor of the West, and as a result, Russia invaded.
In Russia's eye, its neighbors have no rights or sovereignty, and violating it is perfectly legitimate as long as it serves Russian interests. So is breaking international law and all kinds of treaties Russia itself had signed post-1990. That's the same thinking the European powers displayed in 19th century power play and in the years leading up to WW1, and it is the same kind of thinking that was driving Nazi Germany.
This clearly is a Russian aggression, and ONLY a Russian aggression.
Russia's elites are driven by paranoia, an extreme nationalism and are stuck mentally in the 19th century.
"Not learning from mistakes is worse than committing mistakes. When you don't allow yourself to make mistakes, it is hard to be tolerant of others and it does not allow even God to be merciful."