There is not much doubt about it. Russia is actively supporting the rebels in East Ukraine, with troops, inside Ukraine. Prisoners have been taken, press conferences given. This is fucked up. This is scary.
As an American, I can’t really use this to go on an anti-Russian rant. We’ve invaded plenty of smaller countries with even less justification. There was no American minority population living in Iraq. Our navy did not need the ports in Grenada. The U.S. does not have a border with Afghanistan.
But, while Putin is no worse than your average American Republican war mongering president, this proves he’s no better, either. And it’s all so stupid. Russia didn’t need to control Ukraine to achieve their goals. They needed to have friendly relations with Ukraine. They’ve kind of blown that one.
When communism and the Warsaw Pact collapsed in the late 80s, it was a good thing for almost everybody. People in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Ukraine and like 5 or 10 other countries were ecstatic. But, even Russia was better off. They saved a lot of money by not having to keep oppressing all of those countries, a lot of their people got rich, people could travel to the west, and westerners could go to Russia.
Putin seems to want to go back to the bad old days. May he fail miserably.