Around 100,000 Russian troops are currently massed on the Ukrainian border. Talk of an invasion fills the air. British intelligence claims President Putin is planning to install a Kremlin-friendly leader in Kiev. For the first time in at least a generation, there is the real prospect of war in Europe. It is easy for politicians in the West to talk about ‘Russian aggression’. What else is a massive build-up of troops if not an aggressive posture? But Russia is acting because its leadership feels threatened. From the high towers of the Kremlin, Ukraine looks like an increasingly hostile, American-backed Potemkin state.
It was not always this way. In the decade following the collapse of the USSR, the newly created Russian Federation had sought western integration.