Putin has described the West’s mission with Ukraine as “the overarching goal being to divide and then to pit the parts of a single people against one another”.

He added that “step by step, Ukraine was dragged into a dangerous geopolitical game aimed at turning Ukraine into a barrier between Europe and Russia, a springboard against Russia”.

In his bid to bring Ukraine back under Russia’s influence, he openly backed and recognised the government of rebels in the eastern part of the country and quickly sent in troops for “peacekeeping” in the region.

He wants to stop Ukraine from being, in his own words, “a puppet” of the West.

What can the West do?

The leaders of the West have been airing their condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine since it began. But, at the moment, NATO countries haven’t unfurled plans to send combat troops in Ukraine’s defence.

Instead, they’ve offered the beleaguered country weapons and medical aids. But NATO already has about 5,000 troops in Poland with other troops across the Baltic territory ready to swing into action when called.

NATO has made it clear that it will deal with Russia; using economic and financial sanctions to strangulate it to back out of the invasion.

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